Zum Bar – Trying To Do Right On Palm Oil


Whenever I go into a supermarket some random product I just happen to have my eye guided to (pretty colors?) always seems to have something wrong with it.  Considering palm oil is in over half of our modern day, Western World product, usually it IS palm oil that kills a purchase for me.

This week it was something called Zum Bar soaps.  Pretty little things, aren’t they?  Well, look at the label sometime.  Second or third ingredient listed is palm oil.

So I wrote them my usual death, deforestation and destruction email.

Funny that you don’t list “palm oil” on your website among Dirty Words”!

The world’s demand for palm oil is leading to:

  1. Deforestation
  2. Death of critically endangered species, like the orangutan
  3. Displacement of indigenous peoples
  4. Enslavement of the poor in atrocious plantation conditions
  5. The exacerbation of global warming?

So you think you’re doing good?  Where’s your palm oil from? Is it sustainable?

And if you think being RSPO certified means anything, it doesn’t.

Here’s there response:

Thank you for asking!  We understand your concerns regarding our use of palm oil and the growing environmental concern of the sustainability of it.  We are right there with you.  The palm oil we use in our products is RSPO Certified Sustainable Segregated.

A good enough response in this day and age of palm oil carelessness.  But not good enough maybe for my conscience.  So I wrote again:

OK, thanks for the info.  That’s good news – as a start!  😉

But you DO know that RSPO certified sustainable segregated palm oil has big concerns.  Rainforest Action Network, in short, has determined that the credibility of the RSPO’s certification scheme is being tested. http://www.ran.org/will_the_rspo_enforce_its_own_rules_and_protect_workers_rights

A longer answer is:

“Time will tell if the RSPO is capable of holding its members accountable to its standards. Given it has a poor track record of doing so, most recently seen with its lifting of the suspension on industry laggard IOI          Group, this complaint provides an opportunity for the RSPO to demonstrate that it can, and will, take actions to enforce compliance with its standards which still have major shortcomings on key issues such as permitting deforestation and the destruction of peatlands.”

We still have ways to go, but thanks for doing what you can at this point.

They didn’t write back yet.  Or answer my tweet, or my Facebook post.

But I’ll give ’em credit where it’s due.  Good on ’em!  They mean well. They just don’w know what we know — the RSPO is sometimes a real joke.

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