This blog post is sponsored by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own
Did you know that palm oil is in about half of all packaged foods? It’s the most widely used vegetable oil for a number of reasons. It’s a great oil as it has no flavor and keeps its properties even under high temperatures. You can find it in products as diverse as chocolate, margarine, lipstick and soap.
Yes, soap! I use it when I make Pricilla’s rich soap. It helps the soap to cure into a nice, hard bar and it is also what makes the soap have such a rich lather. But as someone concerned about our Earth I was worried about the impacts of palm oil farming on the environment. Therefore when I buy my palm oil for soap making I pay a premium to purchase sustainable palm oil. But before I tell you about the sustainable product let me first tell you a little more about palm oil itself.
Palm oil is pressed from the palm fruits that grow on oil palm trees. 85% of palm oil is produced in Indonesia and Malaysia – the palms need a tropical environment to grow.
If growing them is so bad for the Earth why don’t we replace them with another type of oil?
Well, other types like safflower would require more land than is already being farmed with oil palms! But that doesn’t mean that we should embark on full scale palm oil production. The palm oil farming needs to be done in an ethical and sustainable manner. To show support for these farmers it’s important that you look for sustainable palm oil products and that you spend your money on the products made with it.
So, what exactly is sustainable palm oil?
In 2008 a group called the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil developed a set of criteria for both social and environmental factors that a company must meet to produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). When implemented they help minimize the impacts that palm oil cultivation has on local environments and communities. One of the most important criteria that the RSPO states is that “no primary forests or areas which contain significant concentrations of biodiversity (e.g. endangered species) or fragile ecosystems, or areas which are fundamental to meeting basic or traditional cultural needs of local communities (high conservation value areas, can be cleared.”
So how do you know you are buying products that contain sustainable palm oil? Look for the RSPO trademark on the food and other items that you buy. That way you will know for sure that you are buying items that are made with palm oil from a certified palm oil farm. They might cost you a little bit more but it will save you in the long run as you will not be contributing to the destruction of valuable habitat for trees and animals.