Sometimes the downside of a particular ingredient is not that it’s toxic in itself, but rather that the industry around it is damaging to the environment, it’s wildlife or to the people in it. This is very much the case with palm oil, and as a result, all of Mukti’s products are free from this ingredient.
See, for someone like Mukti, it’s not only the quality and efficacy of the ingredients that are important, but the context and impact it has on the people and the land. Yes, it takes longer to research and it does mean more time on formulas and testing, but that is the price of ethical business.
So what is the problem with palm oil?
Three big ones that we can see:
Greenpeace has a big campaign against palm oil and you can read more about it here. The main problem is the destruction of pristine forest and wetlands to plant palms to provide oil for many household products and bio-fuels. And usually in countries with very few environmental laws preventing the destruction.
2. The destruction of the orangutan’s habitat
A beautiful creature and one of our closest relatives, the orangutan is endangered due to the unchecked exploitation of its native habitat, mainly in South-East Asia. They rely on the rainforest and consistent supply of food for their survival.
3. Runaway climate change
Much of this devastation of the land has a hidden effect apart from the reduction of the trees themselves, and that is the release of carbon and methane in the ground in the peatlands. This is something that is being talked about more as science teams begin to publish reports on this phenomenon. The real threat is of the runaway effect as more greenhouse gases are released and the increased temperatures cause more to be released and so on. And some companies have no qualms about buying this oil and totally ignoring any environmental impact it is having.
What is palm oil used for?
Palm oil is broken down and used for a huge variety of different products:
- Food production in things like margarine, ice cream, biscuits, cooking oil etc
- As a greasing and softening agent in leather production
- An ingredient in the production of plasticisers, paint & surface coatings
- Animal feed
- Ingredient for insecticides and fungicides, hydraulic brake fluids components used in the electronics industry
- Soap making, detergents, cosmetics and other facial products.
So what can we do now?
- Boycott every product that uses palm oil and use alternatives instead. You can find a pretty comprehensive list of offenders here, some of the names that palm oil ingredients go under here, and a growing list of palm oil free products here.
- Share this with your friends and increase awareness of this issue. If no one buys products made with unethical palm oil (can we trust there isn’t?) then the industry would grind to a halt.
- Stay happy knowing that you are making a difference.