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The Importance of Sustainable Palm Oil

Posted by Melanie on

 palm.jpg     At Morning Song Gardens, we are striving to make better environmental and ethical decisions every day. We know that you, our customers, are too! The first step to a greener planet is education. Education about our eco system, and the way modern life is impacting it, helps to shape the decisions we make to become sustainable.

So let's dive into today's lesson, Palm Oil. If you haven't heard about the impacts of unsustainable palm oil, this may come as a surprise to you. For starters, there is no other vegetable oil that shows up in such a vast majority of consumer goods.

Around 50% of food and nonfood goods contain palm oil, and according to Palm Oil Consumers Action, most Americans have "never heard of palm oil". This is why education about how palm oil is produced and how it is effecting the planet, people, and animals, is so very important.

African Oil Palm Trees are grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, with 85% of all palm oil globally produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia; but most of the time not using sustainable measures. This is the dark side of the industry. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rain forest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years. This also impacts the people living in the rain forest land, as their villages are torn down they have no choice but to become plantation workers. In Indonesia alone, the palm oil industry is responsible for about 5,000 land and human rights conflicts, including child labor and unsafe working conditions.

Thankfully, there is hope on the horizon. In 2004, RSPO - the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, was founded. Their mission, to transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm. Also, to set a "rule book" that plantations must follow to become certified. Some of the requirements for certification include; use of appropriate best practices by growers and millers, responsible consideration of employees and of individuals and communities affected by growers and mills, and environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity. Unfortunately, only about 17% of all palm oil plantations are certified with the RSPO. Far too few in our opinion. That is why it is so important to support the companies who are sustainably producing and using the palm oil that we use every day in our foods and on our bodies. The palm oil industry still has improvements that need to be made, but we are happy it is starting to head in the right direction.

One of our main focuses is finding and using the highest quality, sustainably produced oils and ingredients. Ingredients that fit our environmental and ethical standards are sometimes hard to find, but it is well worth our hours of research! We are putting in the work, so you don't have to. We hope to make it easy and affordable to turn your shower time a little "greener". So yes, our soaps do contain palm oil, but rest easy knowing that our supplier is RSPO certified and using sustainable practices.

If we all do our part every day, in all the little ways, we can start to see a change. Keep using your reusable coffee mug, recycle, and be proud of your choices! Together we can be the change our world and the future generations need.
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