UPDATE: 7/12/2018: I get occasional questions from readers wondering where Lenny and Larry’s is today on palm oil. So I wrote them to ask. To their credit, they responded rather quickly:
We have been using sustainable palm oil with our palm margarine. We are completely moving away from margarine and directly to palm fruit oil. We have secured a supplier.
I will forward your email to my team.
Thanks for reaching out.
But that left a huge, gaping hole of information in their palm fruit oil sourcing. So I pressed onward.
Thanks for the info, XXXX. So without you giving away any secrets, is your palm fruit oil coming from 100% sustainable sources? Is it from Indonesia/Malaysia, the hotspot for deforestation? Is it RSPO certified as sustainable, traceable back to the source?
Sorry, I do have some blog readers who are asking where you are today and I’d love to give them some great news.
By the way, Palm Done Right gets sustainable palm oil from Ecuador and Sierra Leone — nowhere near the orangutans whose habitat is being destroyed for palm oil.
Surprisingly, I got an even faster response. This time, though, I’m not sure whether to take it as just fun and playful considering this guy’s about as, well, plainspoken and hot-headed (?) as I am (but with a decent sense of humor), apparently, and hope their team does get back to me with good news that it’s all certified traceable and sustainable. Or could I take it another way: a completely tone deaf corporate response to a nettlesome enviro who hates how unsustainable palm oil is destroying the remaining tropical rainforests of the world.
Decide for yourself:
Sorry. Not answering any of the questions below. 😜
If my team is interested, they will follow up. I do appreciate you reaching out.
And make your purchasing decisions accordingly. I know I will.
ORIGINAL POST: 8/2015: I haven’t posted in awhile. I’ve been traveling (all those final Grateful Dead shows in the Bay Area and Chicago) and even took in U2 at Madison Square Garden last week. But I’m back now and hope to post a bit more as I get some free time.
I was working on an environmental law project in Los Angeles recently and needed a snack fix. I went downstairs to a convenience store and immediately reached for this particular brand of cookie. Not only because it was vegan but all natural. What the hell.
But, yes, there’s palm oil in it. So while I was waiting in a long line to checkout, I hunt and pecked a quick email to this company to inquire about their palm oil sourcing. Given that I hashed it out with my right thumb, it was short, sweet — and perhaps a bit terse. Although I did not accuse them outright of using conflict palm oil, that’s the way it was taken. In all fairness, I could see how it could be taken that way.
Decide for yourself:
You claim to be healthy and enviro-friendly yet you use palm oil, the demand for which is destroying the last rainforeats and killing endangered species, not to mention harming indigenous peoples.
I will boycott your product and urge others to do so until we are assured you do not use conflict Palm oil.
Please respond with your sourcing info.
I won’t bore you with the exchange that transpired with an employee who responded to me over the weekend, but suffice it to say, this employee and myself are fiery, impassioned people — and our email exchange reflected that. This person obviously cares about the success of his/her company and its reputation — and for good reason. I, on the other hand, am an impassioned environmentalist who knows a little something about the palm oil issue. And I try to put my money where my mouth is. I won’t buy something again until I know whether there’s conflict palm oil used or not.
At any rate, I think this employee and I became new acquaintances with some of the same passions and interests, such as a love for the animals and the environment. Here’s their ultimate response.
Thanks so much XXXX and we hear you loud and clear. We are all animal lovers at Lenny & Larry’s. In fact, our brand will be 100% vegan by year end.
Since we don’t actually purchase any ingredients (we contract third party manufacturers), we encourage ALL suppliers to purchase sustainable ingredients. Palm oil is only in trace amounts within a sub ingredient which is the non hydrogenated margarine. It is minuscule in terms of volume. We are almost certain, knowing the company that supplies the margarine, it is sourced from sustainable sources…
We will continue to support Operation Gratitude, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, ASPCA and other great causes.”
So this seems like a progressive company that aims to do the right thing. So let’s continue to watch them to see what they do.
UPDATE 8/5/2015: In a sign of collegiality, Lenny & Larry’s sent me a box of cookie treats yesterday. They’re quite good, vegan and “all natural.” (Again, let’s just hope that the above is true — that L&L’s third party margarine provider (which uses palm oil) gets it from sustainable sources.)