The Palm Oil Debate

Palm Oil – a vegetable oil obtained from the fruit of the Oil Palm Tree and one of the
world’s most widely produced oils. Though most popular in foods, around 1% of
global production goes into the beauty and personal care industry.

Palm Oil’s popularity is due to several reasons; its smooth, creamy, unfragranced
texture, its natural preservative effect, its ultra-high yield (requiring less than half
the land needed by other crops to yield the same volume of oil) and its stability at
high temperatures. However, as global demand across all sectors has increased, the
resulting environmental and social impact – deforestation, habitat destruction and
biodiversity loss – has understandably caused considerable controversy.

You may be familiar with sustainable Palm Oil and the Roundtable on Sustainable
Palm Oil (RSPO). Established in 2004, this not-for-profit organisation unites oil palm
producers, processors, traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks,
investors plus environmental and social NGOs to develop and implement global
standards for sustainable palm oil production and apply a certification system for
sustainable Palm Oil. Those wishing certification must adhere to a strict criteria list,
including commitment to transparency, conservation of natural resources and
biodiversity, responsible development of new plantings, and use of appropriate best
practices by growers and millers.

Being transparent with our customers about the use of Palm Oil is important and,
while no Allingham Beck formulations contains pure Palm Oil, the plant-based
surfactants in our shampoos and body washes and many emulsifiers – derived from
ingredients such as Coconut, Corn and fruit sugars – do often include a Palm Oil
derivative.

We are, of course, sensitive to the many issues surrounding Palm Oil’s use,
sustainability and traceability. We endeavour to ensure that the Palm Oil derived
ingredients we use are responsibly sourced from RSPO certified suppliers.
It must be noted that Palm Oil is such a high-yielding oil, that the decision by
beauty or personal care brands to boycott all Palm would hike demand for
alternative oils. However, any oil replacing Palm would require the use of larger
amounts of land to produce equal amounts of yield – which would only further
exacerbate the issue of deforestation and associated land use change. What’s more,
millions of farmers (and their families) based in Palm Oil-producing countries like
Indonesia and Malaysia depend on this work.

We believe it’s more important to work with suppliers, ensuring demand for certified
sustainable Palm Oil far outweighs that of other Palm Oil sources.

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