I went into a Whole Foods yesterday to buy some TRULY sustainable palm oil soap -Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. (Go to their website, they tout a Ghana farm that is completely sustainable.) While there, I bumped into a big display featuring a heap of colorful, cool, enticing, hip soaps for half the price of Bronner’s and featuring all colors in the multi-colored rainbow. They look like ice cream flavors and good enough to eat. My personal favorite was Purple Haze (hey I’m a nouveau hippie).
But it comes with a catch — PALM OIL! Look right there on the label.
So I wrote them, of course, inquiring about their sourcing. Here’s their response:
Hi Rick, Thanks for advocating for this important issue. We are certainly aware of the issue and we strive to always use ingredients that have minimal impact on our environment. We do use palm oil and do work with our suppliers to always seek better sources. We understand that no certification, including RSPO, is perfect, and we always look for are more reliable sources. Please continue to push on this issue and we promise to continue to keep looking for the best most sustainable ingredients for our products.
That wasn’t good enough for me. So I replied.
So you DO use “RSPO-certified palm oil? ” Youch! Rainforest-destroying, orangutan-killing palm oil?! There is No such thing as sustainable Palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, you do know that? The RSPO, which is run be the very companies who are destroying the rainforest, is merely a greenwashing organization for those companies looking for phony PR cover for their activities. Very disappointed. And will need to report on this on my blog.
Dr Bronner’s soaps uses Palm oil from a sustainable operation from Ghana. https://www.drbronner.com/ingredients/fair-trade-around-the-world/palm-oil/
They sent this back:
Thanks for the info. We’ll definitely look into it and push our suppliers to find new sources. We’re a small company and always looking to improve.
Let’s hope they do better. Until then I’ll stick with Dr. Bronner’s. You know they’re good on palm oil when they brag about it on their website. I had lunch with a high-level Bronner’s exec last year for a possible job — believe me, they are fully aware of the palm oil issue — that’s why they use this Ghana farm in Africa. It’s a win-win for all.