THIS Is Why The RSPO Doesn’t Mean Shit!

I got into a disagreement with Seventh Generation recently.  They were hiding behind their RSPO sustainability certification, which I informed them didn’t mean shit.

Well, here’s this graphic story (sorry).

Apologies the English is not so good, so I will try to edit (thus the brackets []):

An orangutan [has been] shot to die between block F11- 1F12 and then [] slaugthered in the Camp Tapak, PT Susantri Permai in Kapuas, Central Kalimantan. This company is subsidiary of the Genting Plantation Berhad, a member of RSPO. This is a serious crime in Indonesia. This is [] [also] a serious violation of principles and criteria of RSPO. This is [] evidence that this company location is overlapping with orangutan habitat. RSPO has enough reasons to KICK Genting Plantation OUT  from RSPO.

And this horrible photo.  Apparently, the workers killed and ate the orangutan for bushmeat after it wandered into the company’s plantation.



Now a case could be made that this palm oil company treats their workers so atrociously that they have to go out and kill for their own sustenance – but I’m sure as hell NOT going to make it for them.)

Nevertheless, this is WHY palm oil is so bad for everybody — the forests, the orangutans, rhinos, elephants and other critically endangered species who live there, the people displaced from their ancestral lands, and the workers, who are treated like slaves many times. Only good for the greedy palm oil companies.

How do you like them NON-SUSTAINABLE apples, Seventh Generation!?

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Use Dr. Bronner’s SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL Soap For Other Household Needs

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My ideology just ran right up against greenwashing Seventh Generation’s wall of marketing and bullshit (see immediate below blog piece).  So it got me looking for alternatives to avoid buying Seventh Generation, which hides behind RSPO sustainable palm oil CREDITS!

Not good enough. That means they’re still deforestating.

So, I’m reminded of Dr. Bronner’s, which uses only sustainable palm oil from their OWN plantation in Ghana.

So go buy Dr. Bronner’s soap (no orangutan-killing palm oil in there).  And use their handy-dandy chart below to use truly SUSTAINABLE palm oil soaps in your own home.


Download PDF Document

Dilute! Dilute! OK!* But how much? Here is a quick reference. None of this is a hard and fast rule. If your stuff is really dirty or your water is really hard, then you may want to use more than the recommended amount. However, this should get you started. You’ll notice that for some applications, I recommend pre-diluting the soap – combining the soap with water in a container. For other applications, the soap is diluted by the water present in the situation. It’s a matter of personal preference. Keep in mind that if you predilute, you are also diluting the preservative (tocopherols – vitamin E), so the shelf life drops. Use within a couple weeks. And yes, there are 18 uses here.Dr. Bronner's Castile Liquid Soaps

* Long time Dr. Bronner’s users will remember this expression from the old labels.

Body Uses:

Face: 2-3 drops on wet hands, applied to wet face

Body: one small squirt on a wet washcloth, applied to a wet body

Hair: ½ Tbsp. in your hand, worked into wet hair, or dilute ½ Tbsp. in ½ a cup of water and work that into wet hair

Bath: Completely depends upon water amount, but roughly 2 Tbsp. soap in an average sized tub. (Doesn’t bubble, but still cleans)

Shaving: Face – 10 drops; Underarms – 3 drops; Legs – ½ tsp; Work to a lather in wet hands and then apply to area.

Teeth: 1 drop on a toothbrush. (Yes, it tastes like soap.)

Foot Bath: 1 ½ tsp. in a small tub of hot water.

Clearing Congestion: 1 Tbsp. in a bowl of steamy hot water. Breathe in mist with a towel draped over the head.

Household uses:

Dishes (handwashing): Pre-dilute 1:10 with water. Squirt on a scrub brush and scrub dishes.

Laundry: 1/3-1/2 c. of soap for a large load in a normal washer. Add ½ c. vinegar to the rinse cycle. Use half of these amounts for HE

Mopping: ½ c. of soap in 3 gallons of hot water

All-purpose cleaning: ¼ c. soap in a quart of water in a spray bottle. Add ¼ tsp. tea tree essential oil if desired.

Windows: 1 Tbsp. soap in a quart of water in a spray bottle. Follow up with pure club soda, or half vinegar/ half water.

Toilet: Predilute 1:4 with water in a squirt bottle. Add ¼ tsp. tea tree oil. Empty toilet, squirt bowl thoroughly, sprinkle baking soda on the brush, scrub bowl, let sit 10 minutes, turn water on, flush.

Other Uses:

Fruit and Veggie Rinse: 1 dash (approx.. ¼ tsp.) in a bowl of water. Dunk produce and swish. Then rinse in clear water.

Dog washing: Amount varies widely depending on size, hair type and length, and overall dirtiness. I wet my dog thoroughly, then start to work in castile soap up and down their body until I have a good lather. Really massage it in down to the skin. Your dog will thank you for it.

Plant spray for bugs: 1 Tbsp. in a quart of water. Add ½ tsp. cayenne pepper or cinnamon, if desired.

Ant spray (not on plants): ¼ c. tea tree soap in a quart of water. (This concentration will burn plants.)

I’ve tried to keep this short and sweet. If you have any questions, please ask away!

To download a one page copy of this cheat sheet, click here.

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UPDATED 02/13/2017: For A Company Called “Seventh Generation” They Think Short Term


UPDATED 2/13/2017:  Here’s the response from Seventh Generation:


Thanks for getting back to me.

I apologize that the links did not work, we recently changed our site around a bit.

The system for purchasing credits is certainly not perfect and we would love to purchase sustainable palm oil, unfortunately there is not a dedicated supply channel for this. We feel that this is the best option currently and we are always open to suggestions to help minimize our impacts on the planet.

How does that make you feel?  A company that uses its greenwashing as a marketing ploy!?

AND this comes on the heels of this yesterday, the bank HSBC funds deforestation in Indonesia AND they’re members of the RSPO!

I WILL NOT BE BUYING SEVENTH GENERATION ANYMORE. There are other non-palm oil (and sustainable palm oil) soaps out there.

In Fact, Dr. Bronner’s, which DOES USE ONLY sustainable palm oil, has a cheat sheet on how to use their soaps for household needs.

Buy Dr. Bronner’s.  BOYCOTT Seventh Generation:

Original 02/10/2017 Post

I was in the store last week, needing dishwashing soap (hey, I live in society and not like the Unabomber out in the wilderness eating grubs and hunting). I literally stood in the supermarket aisle and pondered my choices. Naturally, I reached for  Seventh Generation, which touts its alleged environmental bona fides. After all, their brand name means “Seven generation sustainability, the idea that decisions should be considered for their impact on the seventh generation to come, inspired by the laws of the Iroquois.”

Seeing palm oil code names on the label, l I called the 800 phone number from right there in the store.  Much to my great surprise, a live person actually came on the line (“Hunter”). He was a super-knowledgeable kid who knew all about “greenwashing” and was genuinely interested in discussing the palm oil issue –and inquired on possible solutions to the problem. Well, some 20 minutes of shooting the breeze with this Vermont company rep later, I told him he convinced me for now, I reached for their product and wrote an email to the company when I got home.

Here’s their response:


Thank you for contacting us about our use of Palm Oil.

In our ongoing quest to make our products the most sustainable and plant based cleaning products available, we are continually working up and down our supply chain to ensure that the ingredients in every bottle of Seventh Generation are not just less bad for people and the planet, but are truly good.

Seventh Generation was one of the the first consumer packaged goods company in North America to address the issue of destructive palm oil production and its effect on tropical rainforests. We purchase sustainable palm kernel oil production credits to cover our company’s use across our entire cleaning product portfolio and pay a premium to producers of sustainable palm in order to support their work and to expand the market for greener palm oil production.

The purchase of sustainable palm kernel oil credits is only the first step in a broader strategy that will culminate in sourcing a segregated supply of palm kernel oil for our exclusive product use. Currently, the infrastructure needed to supply Seventh Generation with adequate levels of sustainable palm oil simply does not exist, so we have purchased credits as an interim measure while we work diligently to achieve our sustainable sourcing goal.

There is an ugly side to growing palm. In order to make way for large-scale plantations, vast tracks of old growth rainforest, in places such as Indonesia and Malaysia, have been clear cut. As the global demand for palm oil skyrocketed over the last 20 years (with an almost six fold increase in production), deforestation has continued on an epic scale.

Scientists refer to forests as the lungs of our planet. We pump out increasing quantities of CO2 — the most prevalent global warming inducing greenhouse gas — and our tropical forests act like giant CO2 digesters. They breathe in CO2, and breathe out oxygen. As more and more rainforests are clearcut to make room for palm oil plantations, not only does carbon absorption cease, but also the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere as CO2 if the wood is burned or left to rot after cutting.

Tropical deforestation also destroys crucial habitats for wildlife, thus contributing to (even causing) endangered species (think orangutans, elephants, and tigers). As habitats are lost to palm oil production and without immediate intervention, these species face almost certain extinction. Without a change in forest practices in Indonesia and Malaysia, it is likely that orangutans will disappear in the next five years.

By supporting sustainable palm oil production, we hope to contribute to positive change. We strive to stop the rapid conversion of tropical rainforest and peatlands to palm oil plantations. We can ensure that the critical habitat for some of the world’s most threatened species remain intact, and we can take part in ensuring that the indigenous people of the rainforest are not driven from their land.

The links below will tell you more about our efforts:

If after reading the above, you have any questions or concerns, I am happy to continue to discuss this topic with you.



The term “credits” scared me to know end. I know that all that means is that they buy UNSUSTAINABLE palm oil from somewhere that pays credits to the GOOD GUYS who ARE creating sustainable palm oil. (See Dr. Bronner’s post, for instance.)

And their links weren’t even live and took me to a general sourcing page that didn’t even discuss palm oil, or so it seemed, so I wrote them back.


Your canned response says, among other things, “We purchase sustainable palm kernel oil production credits to cover our company’s use across our entire cleaning product portfolio and pay a premium to producers of sustainable palm in order to support their work and to expand the market for greener palm oil production.”

While that’s a step in the right direction, because you’re paying credits (much like carbon tax credits, offsets, etc.), SOMEBODY is still creating wholly unsustainable palm oil such that credits is merely an instrument to try to move the industry away from unsustainable. But most likely your supplier is NOT the one using unsustainable palm oil or you wouldn’t need to purchase credits!
Have you thought about using NO PALM OIL?  I shudder to think what wild, wooly Borneo and Sumatra were like BEFORE THE PALM OIL boom of the 2000! What a sight it must’ve been.
DO NOT BE A PART OF THE PROBLEM!  Just stop using it!



Forgetting a thought, I quickly wrote another email:


Also the links you provided are not live!  They only take me to your general Ingredients + Source page.  Nice bait and switch.

Credits do NOT mean you’re buying from sustainable sources. It means, rather, that you’re buying from NON-SUSTAINABLE sources and giving money via credits to the GOOD GUYS.
That’s It!  I will post this on my anti-palm oil blog and will STOP buying your products that contain palm oil.
Yuck.  For a company called Seventh Generation I’d expect more.


So for now, I’m skeptical — and bummed.

I’ll post any response when I get the latest.

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The Republicans Are Bad For All Living Things



Painfully ironic that the majestic, soulful, sentient elephant — an endangered species that has seen hundreds of thousands of its numbers killed, all in the name of greed and poaching — is the symbol of the Republican Party, isn’t it?

One week after the election — you know, the one in which Clinton won the popular vote tally by nearly 2 million votes (for the second time since 2000, and to which it really happens to mostly Democrats, except for JFK beating Nixon in 1960) — and I’m still emotionally raw and mentally roiling.  Not just because I can’t stomach their greedy selfishness, but also because of their head-in-the-sand environmental record.  (OK, I’ll cut Nixon a break since he did so much for the environment, and Teddy Roosevelt too.)

Basically:  we’re fucked.  The Republicans, soon to have control of all three branches of the US Government, are now the worst thing for the planet.  Literally, their greed and opposition to government solutions to environmental concerns, means they are now bad for all living things:  the environment, the planet’s flora and fauna — and us humans, even the dipshit Trumpkins (Trump + country bumpkin = Trumpkin.  You’re welcome) who voted for him.

Noam Chomsky put it best:

“The U.S. Republican Party is now ‘the most dangerous organization in world history.'”

He points to Trump’s plans to scrap the Paris Agreement for the US (and, thus, the world), and his naming of global warming Denier Myron Ebell (not a scientist) to possibly head the EPA.

More from Chomsky:

“The last phrase may seem outlandish, even outrageous. But is it? The facts suggest otherwise. The party is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organised human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand,” Professor Chomsky said.

Read the story here:


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The Line Forms Here


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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.

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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Update – 11/2/2016: Duncan Hines – Gets an “F” on Sustainability

UPDATE:  11/2/2016.  OK, not much of one.  I have emailed, tweeted and posted on Facebook both Duncan Hines and their parent company, Pinnacle Foods.  But have heard nothing but crickets.

They have no shame, clearly.  If you’re using sustainable palm oil you say it.  If you’re not, you ignore inquiries.

Their silence is telling!


10/26/2016:  I reached for some brownie mix the other night at the store, craving for some sugar.  Naturally I used my handy-dandy palm oil app to make my purchasing decision.  I scanned a Duncan Hines brownie mix product and look what it returned:




I have tweets, FB posts and emails out to Duncan Hines and their parent company, Pinnacle Foods.  Will post their (bogus) response when I hear from them.


But boycott them for now — and tell them why!

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