Palm Oil

So, it’s been a while but I think I should just dive right in.  I received this email a few weeks ago and I want to share it with you along with my response.  Using palm oil in my soap has been an ongoing source of concern.  Getting the email is a reminder not to drop the ball on this issue.  I actually missed the RSPO debate but I’m planning to listen to it over the next couple of days.  Follow up post to come.  What are your thoughts on the palm oil issue?  Do you use products or eat food that contains palm oil?

picture clipped from

picture clipped from

 LC:  Can you tell me about the palm oil used in this soap?  I didn’t think it was possible to find a reliable, sustainable source for palm oil.

VO:  Thanks for contacting me about this!  Whether or not to continue to use palm oil in our soap is actually on the table for this year.  We currently buy from a distributor that are providing us with certification that they are selling us USDA certified organic palm oil that is sourced only in South America with growers that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and we pay a premium for this.  Having said that, we realize there is growing debate on whether or not the RSPO is actually committed to sustainable agriculture and are in the process of doing our own research.  There is just so much information (and misinformation) out there we are hesitant to just trust any internet article we read on the subject on either side.  What I do know (and what is fairly well known from what I can tell) is that most palm oil is not sustainable and is sourced in Southeast Asia where it is absolutely destructive to communities of people, animals, and plants; and we do not buy our palm oil from any distributors who source in these areas.  We check this website on a regular basis for up to date info on palm oil and the havoc it is reaping:  and it is frightening.  As you reference, there is ongoing debate about if sustainable palm oil is actually possible and there is actually a debate this Tuesday that I’m planning on tuning into, hosted by RSPO, if you’re interested:  

 So, back to the issue at hand:  palm oil in Volta Organics soap.  Right now we have a good stock of palm oil that we’ll continue to use until it’s gone.  We buy in pretty large quantities and it doesn’t make sense to waste while we’re figuring this thing out.  My goal is to make a decision by the time we’re nearing the end of our supply, most likely around September/ October.  I’ll likely be making a blog or facebook post when we come to a decision but I’m happy to contact you by email when I find out more about this.  
Sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients is a very important issue to me.  I don’t want to be partly responsible for destroying eco systems, or the extinction of orangutans or endangered or at risk plants.   It’s why I discontinued all of my sandalwood products and just don’t use herbs that are on the watch lists.  (  I love what palm oil does for soap but it’s just not worth it if there’s no sustainable solution.  



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