I use this product daily and have been for years. But I can’t escape my palm oil guilt and shame so repeatedly check with those companies whose products I use to update their palm oil stance. Today, Derma-e’s use of palm oil came back to me like a “fist to the jaw” (thanks Pearl Jam). So I did a little digging on their website. Although it’s not drastically different from the below emails, it is promising. To wit:
Of note, derma e® sources its red palm oil from documented, sustainable sources.
Now this simple sentence is open to many interpretations, don’t get me wrong. Does this cover all of their palm oil use, or only the red palm oil? Is this wiggle room for other palm oil types? Also, companies can call any palm oil plantation sustainable from the point on it’s planted, despite the fact that virgin rainforest may have been razed to make way for these monoculture plantations in the first place. So is that the case here? Another interpretation could be that they do the right thing and only buy them from sources that never chopped down, burned or destroyed rainforests in the first place — and perhaps not even in Southeast Asia.
Hard to tell. Methinks it’s time for another email to them.
I like skin care products as well as the next confidently (wildly) heterosexual metro-sexual male. But every time I reach for my anti-aging cream, I wonder about the environmental cost and toll it takes on the planet, its flora and fauna, and most importantly the precious orangutan habitat.
A couple of years ago in 2012, I wrote an email to derma-e inquiring if they were sourcing their palm oil responsibly. Their response was reassuring.
Thank you for taking the time to write to derma e® Natural Bodycare.
We use Palm Oil sourced from sustainable farming practices. Just to reassure you how committed the company is to the rainforests is that the Co-owner and Vice President of the company own 26 acres of rainforest in Paraguay. She purchased this land specifically to keep it preserved, and is currently working on having some parts of it replanted. Part of the philosophy of the company, along with being cruelty free, is the preservation and protection of our environment.
I hope this information helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Because so much has happened on the corporate palm oil front lately — and some leaders like Unilever have even backpedaled and are now seemingly trying to literally rewrite the rules (see below updated post on this subject) — I wanted to see what Derma-e says today. So I wrote another email. The response — two years later — is nearly the same, at least substantively if not literally.
Thank you for taking the time to write derma e. The Palm Oil we use is sourced from sustainable farming practices. The Co-owner and Vice President of the company owns 26 acres of rainforest in Paraguay. She purchased this land specifically to keep it preserved and is currently working on having some parts of it replanted. Part of the philosophy of the company, along with being cruelty free, is the preservation and protection of our environment. derma e is committed to the rainforests. I hope this has answered all your questions.
Here’s a link to their environmental philosophy:
Let’s hope they stay true to their “rainforest commitment” but tying preserving rainforest to Paraguay in South America — and the rampant deforestation occurring in Southeast Asia today on Borneo and Sumatra are seeming unrelated.
Let’s remember: the demand for palm oil is:
1. Causing the destruction of high conservation value rainforests, mostly in Southeast Asia, but now in South America and Central Africa;
2. Causing the death, and driving to extinction, precious critically endangered species who make this HCV forest home, like the orangutan, Sumatran rhino and Sumatran elephant (not to mention the chimpanzee and gorilla in Central Africa);
3. Enslaving the poor in atrocious slave-like palm oil plantation conditions;
4. Displacing indigenous rainforest peoples from their ancestral homeland:
5. EXACERBATING global warming — which affects us all! These forests (and peat swamps) are CARBON SINKS.
Let’s hope derma-e is a good corporation. One we can trust and continue to use as consumers!