Wow! My post on going palm oil free seemed quite controversial and even received a lot of negative comments, negative emails, FB messages and unsubscribes from my blog. I was actually quite shocked. I also did receive many well wishes and messages of support. Any comments with curse words or name calling were deleted and will be deleted from this post as well. I am open to views with differing opinions…just leave out the name calling and swearing.
It is such a personal decision; one I compare to deciding not to use animal products or deciding to only use essential oils versus fragrance oils. I do also realize that consuming anything…whether palm oil, shea butter, a pencil, toilet paper…really anything…is going to have consequences. But I simply can’t use that as an excuse to ignore the destruction that the palm industry is doing to rainforests, peat lands and to the wildlife in the areas including orangutans, elephants, tigers and so many other creatures. Not to mention the human inhabitants of these areas that are displaced, run off and generally mis-treated.
I don’t know. Maybe I really like oxygen and want to protect the rain forest. Maybe I have a thing for orangutans. This issue personally means something to me and I want to do something. Its my choice. I’ve educated myself for about two years now on the issue and I’ve made the decision to go palm free.
There were some good comments and discussions about using sustainable palm oil and making a demand for sustainable palm oil a priority in the industry.
I personally feel like the better solution is to cut down on the demand for palm oil but using sustainable palm oil is definitely the best alternative if you aren’t willing to cut out using it completely. People are going to keep using it. And again…it is a personal choice. It is your choice. Let’s all do our research and make the decision for ourselves.
The RSPO is the organization certifying palm oil as sustainable based on meeting specific requirements. (Unfortunately there is plenty of controversy with their certification processes, procedures and enforcement of their certifications. It has been shown time and time again that certified companies continue to destroy rainforests, displace animals and natives and not follow the guidelines of the RSPO. This is one of the main reasons that I am going palm free and simply not using sustainable palm oil. I have no guarantee or trust that the sustainable palm oil that I would use would actually be sustainable. I just don’t believe it. But maybe if we continue to demand sustainable and ask questions of our suppliers…they will ask questions of their producers and sustainable will one day actually mean something.)
Getting off track…back to sustainable palm oil.
I have reached out to two major soapmaking suppliers and asked if their palm oil was certified sustainable by the RSPO. I have been told by both that they purchase from producers that are members of the RSPO. I was actually quite surprised with this response from both of them and hope to continue in dialog with both of these companies to let them know that we as soapmakers demand (nicely demand!) certified sustainable palm oil.
And I ask that each of you that uses palm do the same. Question your suppliers. If you are going to choose to use sustainable palm oil…make sure that the supplier you are using is actually selling RSPO certified sustainable palm oil. Buying palm oil from a member of the RSPO is simply not enough at this time. That member might “be on the track to certification”. Unfortunately many palm oil producers are taking advantage of the fact that you can easily be a member of the RSPO (by paying a fee) and not actually be certified. They make promises to get on the right path to sustainability and give dates that are in 2015 or 2018 or 2022. This isn’t good enough. Too much damage will occur in that time.