Why We Chose to be Palm Oil Free
At Honestly we care about the legacy we leave behind, as a company, as parents, as people.
And with that we strive to seek the best ingredients that are sustainable, ethical and best for baby. Just as we make our labels easy to understand we also make it easy to understand why we use the ingredients we do.
Palm Oil is a hot topic and we thought it was important to explain why Honestly Store is completely Palm-Oil free.
Introduced as a sustainable option to Petrochemicals Palm Oil is found in ice-cream, pet food, cleaning products, vegan products, soap, skin care, shampoo/conditioners and cosmetics.
Palm Oil: A Great Natural Resource
On paper Palm Oil is a sustainable farmers dream. It’s a bumper crop that produces 10 times more oil per hectare than other Vegetable crops, like Soybean or Rapeseed crops. Only needing a minimal amount of space to be productive, each Oil Palm can keep on producing fruit for up to 30 years.
Oil Palm trees produce three crops; palm fruit oil, palm kernel oil and kernel expeller product. The crops get used in food, cosmetics and as animal feed. So far, so good, Oil Palm seems sustainable. However, there are other issues that make Palm Oil questionable ethically. So what is the issue and why does it affect you?
The Scale of the Problem
In your cupboards 50% of your food, household cleaning and cosmetic items will contain Palm Oil or its’ derivatives. That’s how common it is. You won’t find it on many labels though. Palm Oil has over 200 alternate names, so it can be tricky to avoid.
Originally Palm Oil replaced animal fats and petrochemicals in consumer products as a more ethical and sustainable choice. And it was a better choice for our health. However global palm oil use has increased by over 400% in the last 20 years. Which has meant that demand has exceed supply. And this is what has tipped the scales of a sustainable resource into an environmentally destructive force.
Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Palm Oil
Deforestation is not only about clearing trees from natural forests. A majority of Oil Palm plantations in Indonesia are the result of illegal deforestation. Usually by ‘slash and burn’ where timber is removed and the undergrowth burned so the land can be farmed. These practises also remove natural habitats for native animals. Whilst also reducing the biodiversity of unique ecosystems. Some of which may hold the key to helping cure disease or understanding our world better. If we continue to destroy it we will never know.
Deforestation also contributes to global warming, as trees and plants are responsible for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It’s estimated that deforestation is responsible for up to 20% of global warming.
Illegal removal of forests is not only lucrative for the creation of Oil Palm plantations but also for the timber. Whilst the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) reports that there are about 20 million hectares of abandoned land in Indonesia that is suitable for Palm Oil plantations, companies keep targeting virgin land. Why? Well the simple reason is they can benefit from the timber as well as the Oil palm plantations. This makes us sad. That we, as a society, put profit over the environment.
Oil Palm deforestation and refining contributes to global warming, by increasing pollution (smog) and greenhouse gas emissions. Global warming increases sea water levels, causes extreme weather and affects global farming such as drought and crop failure.
Here in Australia, global warming is contributing to Coral Reef bleaching, increasing food costs and coastal erosion.
As you expect if you remove natural forests, you also lose animal habitats which means loss of wildlife. This has had devastating effects on the endangered Orangutans in Indonesia. Populations of elephants, rhino and tigers are also decreasing steadily. Do we really want our children growing up thinking these amazing animals only live Zoos?
Pollution/Green House Gases
Wooded land is cleared quickly by setting fires, which release clouds of black smoke into the atmosphere. Practises like this in Indonesia contribute to choking smog found in Singapore and Malaysia.
The process of refining of Oil Palm fruit is also an environmentally taxing process, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and adding to global warming. In health terms adding to pollution means increasing asthma, lung cancer and stroke cases. Pregnant women and children under 14 are especially susceptible to the effects of increased pollution.
The environmental effects of mass Oil Palm production is felt across the world. With contributions to global warming, pollution and risking animal extinction by supporting Palm Oil free products you are saying these effects are unacceptable.
Human Rights Abuses
Indigenous populations are often displaced as forests are cleared into plantations. This has negative effects on their way of life, meaning we also lose their rich cultural knowledge and history as well.
Working conditions on Oil Palm plantations are unregulated. Often workers are women trying to provide an income for their families. How can we make sure that these women are getting paid fairly? Are they able to work safely and in good conditions?
Why Going Palm Oil Free is the Only Option Right Now
Most of the Palm Oil on the market is ‘conflict Palm Oil’ and would have contributed to the 5 reasons to avoid Palm Oil. At Honestly we decided that if we couldn’t source ingredients that were environmentally safe how could we use them in our products to care for our children?
That’s why it was important to us that Honestly was Palm Oil free. Our certification with Orangutan Alliance shows our commitment to making ethical choices. Choices that can help to improve our world for our children, not aid in its destruction.
Your purchases shape the way the market moves. Make an ethical choice for your family and you will be supporting brands that support the environment and preserving our earth for our children. As the consumer, you get to make the choice, You have the power to support brands with Palm Oil Free products, like us. So help us change the face of baby care by buying Honestly Palm-Oil free products.
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Download our Free Inforgraphic on Why You should go Palm Oil Free
A note about sustainable palm oil
There are groups working towards developing sustainable and ethically sourced Palm Oil such as Wild Asia and RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil). They make sure that Oil Palm plantations are not the cause of illegal deforestation, protect biodiversity and wildlife, support fair working rights and cut pesticide use. So while in some products there are no other ethical alternatives for Palm Oil, you can still make a positive difference by supporting those companies that are committed to using certified sustainable Palm Oil