Palm oil is an oil extracted from the seeds and fruit of the oil palm, a palm tree grown in Africa, Asia, and South America. Palm oil is found in many products from beauty and cosmetics to food. Oil palm crops produce a high yield for an extremely low cost, making it one of the cheapest oils you can purchase- especially for soap making. Here we're going to be going over a few of the reasons why I will never use palm oil in Sage & Stone's soap or skin care products.
1. Environmental Damage
To farm oil palms, sections of thriving jungle and rainforests are burned to create vast openings for oil palm plantations. Entire eco-systems are completely gutted so that the crops can be farmed. Not only is palm oil production a major contributor to the deforestation of rainforests, but deforestation is also a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Threatens Species' Survival
During the deforestation of rainforests for planting oil palm trees, the wildlife there is displaced, has their homes taken from them, and sometimes suffer burns from the deforestation. Rhinos, tigers, and orangutans are some of the animals that are displaced and facing extinction due to palm oil harvesting. It has actually been reported that orangutans have been found (dead and alive) with burns, due to being caught in the midst of deforestation. For this reason, a lot of people do not consider palm oil "vegan" or "cruelty free."
3. Societal Impacts
Palm oil not only has detrimental effects on the environment and animals, but the palm oil industry also has an impact on many local communities. While the palm oil industry can bring jobs to certain areas, it has also been associated with illegal land grabs that disrupt and displace the society in that area. Palm oil in turn has a huge effect on the social welfare of some people.
While RSPO (the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) palm oil is available and certified as "sustainable", it then opens up a whole new aspect and discussion of "how" sustainable it really is and to what point. For these reasons, I believe it is better to avoid palm oil all together. This is exactly why Sage and Stone Organics' soap and skin care products will never contain palm oil. I hope this article will help you make more ethical decisions while purchasing beauty, food, and cleaning products.