Part of being cruelty-free is ethically sourcing ingredients as best as we can. A step we take in doing this is not using palm oil. Palm Oil is an inexpensive oil in a range of products ranging from snack and junk food to cosmetics and skincare. Its versatility makes it a great ingredient to use, but this ingredient comes with a downside.
To start, let's define what exactly Palm Oil is and where it comes from. Palm Oil is derived from the fruit of the Elaeis guineensis tree, native to west and southwest Africa. These trees were brought to South-East Asia as an ornamental tree crop just over 100 years ago. Today, Indonesia and Malaysia make up over 85% of the global supply for Palm Oil, even though over 40 other countries also produce Palm Oil.
Palm Oil is found in many beauty and food products due to its versatility, benefits, and inexpensive cost. This makes it difficult for brands to choose sustainability when cost and versatility are at risk. Palm Oil is healthier than other vegetable oils. It can create a beautiful foamy lather for shampoo and has an ideal melting point for certain cosmetics such as lipsticks. It's also used as biofuel as well as animal feed in many parts of the world. The problem with this oil comes down to how it is produced and its harmful effect on our environment.
Deforestation occurs in all countries producing Palm Oil, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Kenya, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Colombia, Brazil, India, Cameroon, Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone.
The results of deforestation? Losing trees and peatland swamps which are the most effective ways of removing carbon from our atmosphere.
Palm oil plantations have also caused a massive problem destroying some of the habitats for already endangered species like the Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhino, and the Orangutan. Deforestation leads to food and shelter shortages amongst animals, making survival a challenge.
Now, there is the RSPO or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to ensure better practices to produce and source palm oil, but we prefer to avoid it. Palm oil is simply bad for the environment. It leads to deforestation and damage to biodiversity. This is why we choose not to use Palm Oil in any of our products. Instead, we use alternative ingredients that work just as well, if not better than Palm Oil. At Hudson Valley Skin Care, you'll find ingredients like Organic Castor Oil, Shea Butter, and Olive Oil in our soaps. We promise to always produce palm-oil-free bar soap.