Many of the products at Flora & Fauna are palm oil free (according to information we have from the brands and suppliers we work with) however some products do contain palm oil which is RSPO Certified or traceable to plantation e.g. Dr Bronner's. We are committed to being as transparent as possible at F&F so we want to give you our view on palm oil and give you another view so you can make the right choices for you.
What do we think of palm oil?
Any form of deforestation is horrific and we see it here in Australia with the koalas, we are absolutely anti-deforestation. Koalas are under threat and Orangutans and Sumatran Tigers are likely to go extinct with how quickly we are destroying their habitat in Indonesia. That is due to our demand for palm oil.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. Along with orangutans, sun bears, pygmy elephants and more are being destroyed and poaching is a lot easier with land being cleared. We have to do something and we are committed to doing something at Flora & Fauna when it comes to deforestation.
However palm oil is an incredibly high yielding crop, it produces nine times more oil per hectare than the next best oil crop so it needs less land to grow the same amount of oil. In Malaysia, it provides employment and contributes to 4.5% GDP. Getting rid of palm oil will mean a shift in production and potentially nine times more land being destroyed. There is, therefore, a very good argument that we need to be looking at sustainable palm oil, not getting rid of palm oil. The RSPO focus on identifying and supporting sustainable palm oil so best practices are implemented and local people are supported.
Why are we not palm oil free?
Some brands source palm oil incredibly responsibly and it's actually a very important part of the local community and economics. For example, Dr Bronner's uses palm oil from Ghana; it's a family plantation that is very well managed and supports that community and it is not in Indonesia or Orangutan habitat. It's one of the best examples of crop management we've seen. We will always stock Dr Bronner's so we simply can't be palm oil free.
In addition, palm oil has over 200 different names so it can be found in many products as names such as vegetable oil or glycerin. Some of these will not be palm oil derived but some will and some ingredients could be derived from coconuts or palm and it is almost impossible to tell. What we have found in our research, and experience, is that a brand's suppliers can change the source on them without them even knowing so your carnauba wax may start out as being palm oil free and you may even get accredited for that. That doesn't mean it will stay that way; an accreditation is done at a point in time and things change and that brand may not be accredited again for another year or longer. We err on the side of caution so we can back something 100%. We don't want to make a claim we cannot stand behind. In reality, when we range over 260 brands we would need to audit ingredients, material spec sheets, and sources weekly for over 5000 products. Some of this information the brands don't know so we won't make claims that we can't stand behind. We will make sure we do the best we absolutely possibly can for our planet and for you.
Some other names for palm oil......
- Elaeis Guineensis
- Ethyl Palmitate
- Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides
- Octyl Palmitate
- Palm Fruit Oil
- Palm Kernel
- Palm Kernel Oil
- Palm Stearine
- Palmitic Acid
- Palmitoyl Oxostearamide
- Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3
- Palmityl Alcohol
- Sodium Kernelate
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Sodium Palm Kernelate
- Stearic Acid
- Vegetable Fat
- Vegetable Oil
We also believe shifting demand from palm oil is not always the answer due to its high yield and potential for further deforestation. It is not a black and white answer, unfortunately.
Our view on accreditations
Think back to when you took an exam - perhaps your HSC, your degree or even your driving test. You passed that at a point in time. Would you pass it now? Maybe not. So accreditation is done at a point in time and things change, and, in the case of ingredients and palm oil, supply changes. In addition, there is no government body looking at palm oil and accrediting it as far as we are aware. The businesses doing so are just that, businesses. The amount they charge is variable and not transparent and significant. We would like the costs for certifications to be very transparent, they currently aren't. We prefer to work with brands that are ethical to the core and doing the absolute best they can when it comes to ingredients, animal testing, and packaging.
Another important point to note is that some certified organic ingredients are palm derived and some organic certifications 'encourage' the use of palm oil by having these ingredients listed as permitted ingredients with non palm oil alternatives not listed. It is a minefield.
How do we help reduce palm oil?
We're actively working with brands that do contain palm oil to ensure it is sustainably sourced. We prioritise brands that don't contain palm oil. The other thing we do is talk about it and be as transparent as we can be with you so you can ask questions and make choices right for you - empowering you is key here. We've listed all the possible products or brands with palm oil below. The great news is that most of our products are palm oil free* and our own brand, Green + Kind, is palm oil free and always will be. We also have a filter on the website highlighting palm oil free. We've had this for over 18 months now so palm oil is not a new thing to us. *note this is based on information provided to us by our suppliers.
Which products contain palm oil
Very few contain palm oil but some do contain palm oil derivatives or may contain palm oil derivatives. We have highlighted these by category below. This is information that has been provided by each brand and we are constantly managing, and updating, it. Note these do not necessarily have accreditations (see our opinion on accreditations above) but are based on the brand's/supplier's knowledge. Even if a brand only has one product with palm oil it's listed. If you want further clarification please do talk to the brand and they will be able to provide that.
Last Updated 10/11/2018