You all know how much we love to research here at 4 The Greater Good. We consider ourselves your personal research team. When you have questions about which brands are safe, which ingredients you can trust, or how products are made, we dig in. This one, Why is Palm Oil so bad for the Environment, is so important to us. We do not carry any products that contain palm oil, and for good reason, please read on to learn about the dangers of palm oil and the damaging impact it has to our planet.
What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil made from the fruits of trees called African oil palms (wikipedia.) The trees originally came from west and south-west Africa, but they were introduced to Indonesia and Malaysia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Is Palm Oil Bad for the Environment?Undoubtedly, yes. Palm oil is a very inexpensive vegetable oil that is being used in so many products that it cannot keep up with the demand. So companies are tearing down rainforests and plant life all over the world to plant more palm trees. So why is this a problem?
The first reason the deforestation for the needs of palm oil is a problem is due to the natural wildlife in those areas. Palm oil deforestation is leading to possible extinction for orangutans, and harming many other species such as elephants and tigers.
Palm Oil is also causing harm to the planet by simply deforestation. As we rip out plants, animals, and trees in their natural environment to plant a monocrop (acres upon acres of only one crop) it is harmful to our planet. The loss of rainforests also contributes to the world’s rising greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change.
There is also a very dark side to the palm oil industry in that many countries that harvest this palm oil often exploit workers in terms of pay including child labour. The driving need for cheap products with ingredients we cannot even pronounce is leading us to harm our planet, our animals living here, and the children and people who harvest the product. It is definitely time for a change, 4 The Greater Good!
What products contain palm oil?
Palm oil can be found in so many different products now because it is inexpensive. It is used in foods, beauty products, soaps, and even biofuel.
- Body Soaps
- Laundry Ddetergents
- Cleaning Products
Would you like even more detail around where you will find palm oil in your household? There is a great article written by Socially Conscious Living, titled, The Scoop on Palm Oil Products that we thought you would enjoy!
It can be extremely difficult to spot palm oil in your products and ingredients because of the wide variety of names it goes by, or the fact that it is simply known as a vegetable oil. Don’t worry though, we check all of our products and brands to ensure that the ingredients in the products we carry are palm oil free! It’s very important to us here at 4 The Greater Good. We always aim to bring you plastic free, non-toxic products that include only sustainably harvested ingredients (and that doesn’t include palm oil.)
What Are the Alternative Names of Palm Oil?
According to the Palm Oil Free Certification © Bev Luff 2009 website there are over 600 ingredient names that may contain palm oil (including but not limited to: vegetable oil, glycerine, isostearyl alcohol, and 597 others.) In another article, from the Orangutan Alliance, there are over 200 names for palm oil derivatives. It seems that there is little legislation currently that requires disclosure around which types of products contain palm oil, as it is a very inexpensive oil and used in many products. Here are just a few of the palm oil derivatives to be aware of: palm kernel, or palmoil, hydrogenated palm glycerides, just to name a few. Then there are those ingredients where the names are not so easy to spot. It can get tricky because even though there is a list of ingredients that may contain palm oil, you would need to check further with the ingredient manufacturer to ensure that ingredients on a product is NOT derived from palm oil. Some of the ingredients to look out for are: ALUMINIUM STEARATE, CALCIUM LACTYLATE, DISODIUM LAURYL SULFOSUCCINATE, ISOSTEARIC ACID, MAGNESIUM STEARATE, SODIUM CETEARYL SULPHATE, SODIUM CETEARYL SULPHATE, TRIACETIN, etc. etc. etc.
So what can we do to STOP Supporting Palm Oil?
Try to pay attention to the products you are buying and the ingredients they contain, shop at 4 The Greater Good for your bath & body products because many soap, deodorant, and body products contain palm oil. Our team researches each and every product we carry to ensure 4 main things prior to carrying an item*…
- No Toxic Ingredients
- Single-Use Plastic Free
- Fair Wages paid to the makers
- Sustainably Harvested Ingredients (No Palm Oil in anything we carry, and organic whenever possible)
*Please note that this is a huge undertaking and we do not take this lightly. This is the basis of our business model. However, there are so many plant derivatives that we may not always get it 100% right. We do promise transparency however. So if we ever find out that a product we carry contains any of these harmful derivatives we will be transparent. Our motto comes from Dr. Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better.” We promise to always do the best we can to bring you the safest & most eco-friendly products, 4 The Greater Good.
Additional Resources - the Dangers of Palm Oil
There is a ton of information available online about the dangers of palm oil. So we know we won’t be able to teach you anymore than the experts can. However, here are some links to articles that we found very helpful in understanding:
- The Dangers of Palm Oil - Columbia University
- What is Palm Oil and Why Is it Bad for the Environment
- The Dangers of Palm Oil - A Little Rose Dust
- The Problem with Palm Oil - The Huffington Post
- Products Without Palm Oil
Palm Free Products Swaps
If you are looking to switch to a deodorant that is palm free (as well as plastic-free, cruelty free, vegan, and works better than any other zero waste deodorant we have ever tried) we recommend and carry, Ethique.
If you are looking for body soap, we have so many great options made in small batches right here in NYC. All of the ingredients are palm free, and organic whenever possible. These soaps are also Vegan, you can find all of the soaps made by Fanciful Fox and feel great knowing they are all zero waste, zero palm oil, vegan, and made by people who are paid fairly!
Trying to find a laundry powder that works great but is palm oil free? We have that as well, we love and recommend, Meliora Laundry powder. This laundry powder includes ingredients that are synthetic fragrance free, cruelty free (we still can’t believe this is a selling point and that companies are doing things that are cruel but anyway….,) and just incredible.
We hope these types of articles help you to choose more consciously the products you use for your family! If you find this article helpful, please share it with friends. Your support is what is going to help us to help others make better, more informed choices too!