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:  https://wordpress.com/post/gettingonmysoapbox.wordpress.com/4723


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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. 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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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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Update 10/27/2016: Haribo Responds – Three Months Later


haribo 2

UPDATE 10/27/2016:  Well, well, well.  Look who finally responded:

Thank you for contacting us HARIBO [sic].

We as a company have very consciously decided on the use of palm oil.
In particular, health issues led to this decision, because the palm oils used contain no hydrogenated fats or oils.

Our products and the raw materials used have always satisfied the highest quality standards.

Based on current plans, we will support the RSPO by exclusively using sustainable palm oil that has been certified by the RSPO for the manufacture of our HARIBO products from the beginning of 2011 onwards. As a responsible confectionary manufacturer, we feel obliged to follow the sustainability principle.

For more information about RSPO membership of HARIBO visit http://www.rspo.org/members/639/Haribo-GmbH-Co-KG

I’ll save you the trouble of clicking on that link above.  It says the following:

Organisation’s Commitments Toward Sustainability

  • How will your organisation promote the RSPO internally and to other stakeholders?

    <!– –> Based on current plans, we will support the RSPO by exclusively using sustainable palm oil that has been certified by the RSPO for the manufacture of our HARIBO and MAOAM products from the beginning of 2011 onwards. We will announce this on our HARIBO website, in relevant press releases and in our general corporate communications (PR). We will also provide our commercial partners with comprehensive information on the use of certified palm oil and the sustainability principle of the RSPO.

  • Where relevant, what processes is the organisation establishing to engage with interested parties, for example to resolve conflict or to use sustainably produced palm oil?

    <!– –> As far as is consistent with German and European competition law, we will allow our market partners (raw material suppliers, competitors and commercial partners) to benefit from our experience with regard to the use of certified palm oil and becoming a member of the RSPO and will help them with all enquiries and interests concerning certified palm oil. The production, management and sales staff of HARIBO will be given comprehensive information on the background and use of sustainable palm oil in our confectionary.

  • Where relevant, how will your organisation work towards implementing the RSPO Principles and Criteria or assessing supplier performance against these criteria?

    <!– –> Both membership of the RSPO and commitment to the RSPO “Code of Conduct” will shortly become a necessary prerequisite for supplying HARIBO GmbH & Co. KG with palm oil and/or products containing palm oil. This will be stipulated in our supplier agreements for 2011.

  • Any other information that would support the application such as what your organisation hopes to gain from joining RSPO and how it would support RSPO?

    <!– –> As a responsible confectionary manufacturer, we feel obliged to follow the sustainability principle. By becoming a member of the RSPO and exclusively using sustainably produced and certified palm oil, we hope to prove our commitment to sustainability. Membership of the RSPO gives us the opportunity to also communicate the exclusive use of certified palm oil to our commercial partners and to consumers of HARIBO and MAOAM products. As the global market leader for fruit gums, liquorice and foam-based sweets we expect to have a multiplier effect with which we can promote the RSPO in the entire food industry and particularly among confectionary manufacturers.

I’m getting sleepy just reading their bullshit greenwashing.



 July 31, 2016:  My girlfriend bought a huge bag of Haribo gummy bears recently.  As I dug into them — they really are about the best slightly petrified gelatinous mush of non-essential calories one can buy, I turned the bag over.  The second freakin’ ingredient is palm kernel oil.  Who the F knew?!  Even here?

At my wit’s end with the ubiquity of palm oil, I posted my usual email on Haribo’s Twitter and Facebook pages.  I received NO response.

Then I looked, and the RSPO — that toothless, corrupt “fox watching the hen house” public relations organization that the palm oil industry uses to greenwash their industry — claims on its website that it’s a member.  Who cares?!  That means nothing today.

Then I did a little more digging and saw that something called the Woodland Zoo claims Haribo is part of a group of…

 members of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and are committed to using certified sustainable palm oil. Please support the companies that are doing their best to make a difference for wildlife. http://www.zoo.org/document.doc?id=1423

Obviously, this is a bunch of horseshit.  “Certified sustainable palm oil” as a claim is as worthless as the paper it’s written on at this point in time.


So I sent an email to the Haribo info email address.

I’ll publish it when I get a response.  If I get a response.

But for now, NO MORE Haribo products for me.



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Soaptopia — Uses RSPO Palm Oil – Big Deal (Yawn) – They Need To Do Better!




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.

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