10/7/2013: My hair stylist told me I might think about using some Nioxin hair products (I swim a lot and the chlorine really takes a toll on my hair and scalp). So, being the vain guy I am (not really), I went out and bought some shampoo and conditioner, WITHOUT checking for palm oil ingredients. Just escaped my mind.
After I used the products for a few times, it finally hit me like a ton of bricks: “CHECK THE FREAKING INGREDIENTS! NO PALM OIL!”
I turned off the shower water and, dripping wet, perused the lengthy chemical ingredients on the Nioxin bottles. Yep, sure enough I found code words that could stand for palm oil. When I got to work later that today I quickly got on the Nioxin chat line with a nice person who finally said she’d check with R&D — and claimed she understood the importance of my query.
I just wanted to touch base with you. I have submitted your inquiry to R&D and I am still awaiting their official response. I hope to hear back early next week at latest. Thanks! Have a great day! Best Regards, Consumer and Professional Services P&G Professional Care Exclusive Line 1-800-935-5273 WellaSalonProHelp.IM@pg.com.
So each day, I reach for my Nioxin products with a pang of guilt and crossing my fingers that I’m not adding to palm oil demand. Well, today, I finally got a response:
Dear XXXX,I have received a response from r&d. Please see below:Yes, it is possible for Nioxin products to contain ingredients derived from palm oil or palm kernal. Please refer to the website below for more information on P&G’s stance on Palm Oil:http://www.pg.com/en_US/sustainability/policies_practices/palmoil.shtml (UPDATED 2/26/2014)Thanks! Have a great day! Best Regards, Consumer and Professional Services P&G Professional Care Exclusive Line 1-800-935-5273 WellaSalonProHelp.IM@pg.com
So bad news, right? It may contain palm oil. So I quickly went to the website above. It looks promising — Proctor & Gamble is one of those behemoth corporations that NEED to help turn this unsustainable palm oil battleship to ONLY using sustainable palm oil — and that it is certified. Looks like they’re on the right track. Unfortunately, their target date is still a year (or more) away. Maybe they’ll be like Unilever (allegedly), who has beat their target years in advance.
P&G is committed to the sustainable sourcing of palm oil. By 2015, we intend to purchase and use only palm oil that we can confirm to have originated from responsible and sustainable sources. (Their emphasis.)
Although the vast majority of palm oil is produced in a sustainable way, there are some instances where tropical rain forests are being cleared for palm plantations. P&G is strongly opposed to irresponsible and/or illegal deforestation practices. We will continue to support efforts to eliminate irresponsible and/or illegal deforestation of land for use in the planting and harvesting of palm plantations, as well as efforts to help ensure the appropriate selection and designation of land for such uses.
We will seek to accomplish these goals through the following key steps:
Supplier and Partner Coaching
We will continue to share and reinforce our expectations related to Sustainability, and encourage and reward “sustainable behavior” on behalf of our partners and suppliers. This will include visits to our suppliers and audits of their on-the-ground operations to ensure that their practices will meet or exceed our Sustainability expectations, including their selection, purchase, and responsible use of land for the planting of palm plantations. We recognize the criteria and certification of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as evidence of sustainable palm oil sourcing. We will continue to partner with known suppliers with whom we have longstanding relationships and trust, as well as with emerging suppliers who embrace and support our Corporate Sustainability principles and expectations.
We will expand and strengthen relationships with trade associations, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other critical external stakeholders to help influence positive changes and incremental Sustainability improvements in the palm oil supply chain and industry. We will partner with third-party organizations to help confirm and validate our palm oil sourcing and use strategies.
We will continue to support industry efforts to eliminate irresponsible and/or illegal deforestation of land for use in the planting and harvesting of palm plantations, as well as efforts to help ensure the appropriate selection and designation of land for such uses.
All this to say, I’ll think long and hard before I replace my Nioxin products. While they’re on the right track. For now, they can’t promise that their palm oil isn’t added to the destruction, death, displacement, enslavement and exacerbation of global warming.
UPDATED – 2/26/2014: Articles abound about Greenpeace accusing P&G of using conflict palm oil after all, especially in Head and Shoulders. So how can they use it in one shampoo but not in others?
Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has put on the spotlight one of the world’s largest producers of cosmetics and personal care productsProcter & Gamble (P&G), urging the global manufacturer to step up its sustainable palm oil commitment as new evidence has linked its products to palm oil plantations involved in forest fires and clearing of peatlands.
So I’m back to avoiding it. Here’s the story: http://www.eco-business.com/news/dirty-palm-oil-stains-remain-pg-products-supply-chain-trail-reveals/
Here’s a petition to sign: https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/speakout/protect-paradise
UPDATED: 3/5/2014: Please watch this powerful short Greenpeace film:
- General Mills: Getting Better On Their Palm Oil Policies (gettingonmysoapbox.wordpress.com)
- Tell Mars, Inc. To Set an Example for the Snack Food 20 (understory.ran.org)
- WhiteWave Foods Becomes One of the First U.S. Companies to Source Sustainable Palm Oil with Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (fool.com)