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?
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: http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/palm-oil.php 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: http://www.rspo.org/news_details.php?nid=160