Palm oil is one of the most widely consumed vegetable oil in the world, it is found in most of the packaged products in the super market; chips, biscuits, skin care, bread etc.
WHAT IS PALM OIL?
It’s an edible vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees (Elaeis guineensis). Two types of oil can be produced; crude palm oil (CPO) comes from squeezing the fleshy fruit, and palm kernel oil which comes from crushing the kernel, or the stone in the middle of the fruit. Oil palm trees are native to Africa but were brought to South-East Asia just over 100 years ago as an ornamental tree crop. Now, Indonesia and Malaysia make up over 85% of global supply.
SO, WHAT'S WRONG?
Palm oil has been and continues to be a major driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most bio-diverse forests, destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the Orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino. This forest loss coupled with conversion of carbon rich peat soils are throwing out millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. There also remains some exploitation of workers and child labour. These are serious issues that the whole palm oil sector needs to step up to address because it doesn’t have to be this way.
Palm oil is an incredibly efficient crop, producing more oil per land area than any other equivalent vegetable oil crop. Boycotting palm oil is not always the answer, but demanding more action to tackle the issues and go further and faster, is.
As individuals, the best we can do is consume responsibly.
SCENTORA'S VIEW ON USE OF PALM OIL
At Scentora, we have never used and will never use palm oil. We have decided to not use sustainably certified palm oil (RSPO certified palm oil) either, for as long as the demand for palm oil will be so overwhelming and its use so common, it won't be possible to satisfy it sustainably.
Palm oil is and will continue to be a part of the supply chain and as far as possible, we can consume it responsibly by:
- Avoid the use of palm oil or its substitutes whenever possible (support brands that make palm oil free biscuits or chocolate spread etc)
- Substitute the use of palm oil whenever it is possible and easily available, with a mixture of different vegetable oils in order to avoid recreating the same monoculture issue around a different product.
- When neither substitution nor elimination of palm oil are realistic options, choose sustainably sourced palm oil (RSPO certified).
We chose to support variety, hence you'll find us obsess over coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba and olive oil.
HOW DO I KNOW IF A PRODUCT HAS PALM OIL?
Avoiding palm oil isn't easy if they tend to appear under different names and are not clearly labelled. Here's a list of palm oil's derivatives that could help you identify them:
Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil (PKO), Palm Fruit Oil, FP(K)O – Fractionated Palm Oil, OPKO – Organic Palm Kernel Oil, Palmate, Palmitate, Palmolein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hydrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol.
Authored by Brunda Sreedhar (Co-founder, Scentora)