For the last several years in the soap industry (and restaurants for that matter), there has been an increase in negativity towards Palm Oil both as a cooking oil and a cosmetic. Over 50% of all products on the market have some form of Palm Oil in the ingredients.
Over 90% of the world’s Palm Oil is produced in Indonesia and Malaysia and the global demand keeps climbing. Palm oil production is indeed tied to environmentally harmful practices like clear-cutting rainforests and draining and burning peatlands. Corporate farming of Palm trees has hurt indigenous populations and the natural habitats for many rainforest creatures. Deforestation of rainforests has led to the development of corporate Palm Oil plantations.
There has been a move to “Boycott” palm oil, however, palm oil is so entrenched in the food, cosmetic, and lubrication industries that boycotts by restaurants and soap makers have little to no effect. I know it can “feel good” to boycott the oil, but such action has virtually no effect on the industry.
We feel that the better way forward is to establish environmental practices for palm producers and society by working together and establishing frameworks that all producers can adhere to. To source a truly remarkable oil, by not damaging the environment or populations or animal habitats. Palm oil contributes hardness and lather to a soap bar. It is very high in Vitamin E which further preserves the bar. It creates a unique “feel” to the lather and helps lather stability. In short, an oil that helps all other lipid ingredients work better…..together. It does not take much to accomplish this. Any alternatives to Palm Oil must be used in larger amounts to solicit the same outcome. Cocoa Butter is an alternative, but when has its own issues when you compare refined to unrefined. So a “sustainable” option for Palm, also protects the cocoa butter industry.
The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is an organization that has the vision to transform the Palm Oil market into a long-term SUSTAINABLE model. RSPO certification is the assurance to the customer that the oil is produced sustainably or in other words, does not cause harm to the environment or local societies.
We do not use a LOT of Palm oil, but where we do, we source from RSPO Certified providers such as Essential Depot in Sebring, FL. RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm Oil contributes to the preservation of the orangutan habitat as well as fair trade to the local population with ethical sourcing. A listing of suppliers is available on their website for business consumers (like us).
The RSPO sustainable palm oil movement is gaining momentum and traction. More and more producers are seeking the sustainable version of Palm Oil. If you would like to learn more about RSPO and its work in the Palm Oil Industry, be sure to visit https://rspo.org/certification.
By requiring suppliers to grow and process Palm oil in accordance with a set of sustainable methods, we can change the entire conversation around the oil and what it is used for.
The movement is growing. RSPO Certified growers now make up 19% of the palm oil market. It is a major step for growers and producers to seek Certification, but the pressure is on for producers to do so. We are pleased to see this and support RSPO sustainable palm oil in our oil purchases.