You would have to be living in a cave, to have missed the wonderful Christmas ad by food retailers Iceland. Since it launched last week, its gone viral and highlighted the heartbreak and devastation its production causes to wildlife and the planet. I have seen so many images popping up on my newsfeed that made me feel upset and enraged, images which clearly sum up barbaric and unnecessary cruelty and shallow greed.
So what’s the problem
Palm oil is a vegetable oil, derived from the fruit of oil palm trees. It is grown in plantations in areas such as Malaysia and Indonesia, Africa and Thailand. Its production is big business and according to Greenpeace, an area the size of a football pitch could be lost every 25 seconds.
Animal habitats and villages are being harmed in a major way by this unbearable demand for palm oil. I had a look around the kitchen and some items surprised me when I read the label, I thought the family shopped consciously too, as we have been aware of the palm oil issue for years. Its in so much, as a filler in things like peanut butter and kids cereal.
Why is it used
It is an extremely versatile oil, which is found in everyday things, such as breakfast cereal and bath products. From your chocolate spread to your shampoo, it is found in almost half of the things we buy In the supermarket and thereafter in our cupboards. See, big business!
What is sustainable palm oil?
This is a subject which has people divided. Sustainable palm oil could be a way forward and ethical business practice is key. Palm oil growers can enter a certification process, RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) meaning they have to commit to a certain standard. However unless our demand for palm oil lessens, we will never know how successful this can be.
The palm oil industry is expanding so rapidly, there simply isn’t time for governments and RSPO to get the exact picture and simply, the unethical and barbaric practices has to stop.
Completely boycotting palm oil comes with its own set of problems. However to many people who are just finding out and reading about Palm oil, it feels like the most sensible thing to do for now.
Demand must lessen, to allow time for implementing change. Whether governments are willing so support these changes is still to be known, as this is a major cash cow for many palm oil producing countries.
This is where you come in
Choose your products wisely and if something does contain palm oil, ask the question, google the company and find out if they are a member of RSPO and support change. Be conscious of why you are buying something. Is it essential that you buy this product with palm oil in it? Do you really need it. Make your own mind up. I will be staying completely clear of it until big changes are made.
Willow & Plum Soap Co do not use palm oil in any of our soap bars or liquid soap. You can find out more about us here.