Is Palm Oil Sustainable?

Palm oil plantations are the leading cause of Rainforest deforestation and loss of habitat for the great Orangutan. mōksa Organics founder, Melanie Martin explains why it’s an ingredient that she chose not to include in their sustainable soap and body care products.

Is palm oil sustainable? Founder of mōksa organics explains why they boycott.

I think it is important to understand that palm oil and palm fruit is not” bad” with respect to its inherent nature. It is a plant that produces fruit and it comes from the Earth. That is a good thing. However, palm oil is one of the biggest environmental issues of our time. Not only are we losing important species, but we are losing the ecosystem services that our rainforests provide. Rainforests also play a major role in controlling the weather around the world.

There has been some progress with sustainable palm oil, however sourcing the palm oil still proves to be challenging and even the products that are labeled sustainable (including palm oil from some organic farms) are not truly sustainable, as greenhouse gases are not accounted for, and there are still millions of acres of 

virgin rainforests being destroyed to build plantations. There are alternatives to palm oil such as coconut oil or hemp seed oil. Unfortunately, palm trees only grow in tropical regions, and the quickest and cheapest way to grow it is by clearing peat lands or virgin forests. New Britain Palm Oil has figured out how to grow sustainable palm oil on previously degraded land with a high yield. They are a great role model. The best alternative would be for smaller companies to use coconut oil or olive oil, and for larger companies to join the RSPO and push hard for oil palm growers to use only degraded land and to ensure that the full environmental costs are taken into account along the supply chain.

My hope is that industrial hemp will become legal to cultivate here in the U.S. Cultivating hemp would support our American farmers and generate much needed revenue that we are missing out on ($450 million). It has a very high yield and can be grown in small spaces. It would be a wonderful remedy for palm plantations and mass deforestation.

What can we do?

Avoid palm oil and read labels.

Palm oil is in almost all processed foods. It is found in about half of all packaged goods on the shelf and in most soaps and bath products.

We can all make a difference by choosing not to buy products with packaged with palm oil. A simple start is to read ingredient labels. Palm oil products can be identified through these names: Cetyl Palmitate and Octyl Palmitate, Elaeis Guineensis (Taxonomic name for palm oil), Hexadecylic or Palmitic Acid, Hydrated Palm Glycerides Palm Oil Kernal, Palmate, or anything with Palmitate at the end.

mōksa organics created a Clean Revolution. A Revolution that combines our love for nature, a love for activism, and a desire to be a part   of a world that offers peace and well being for all species. Social Entrepreneurship is the heart of our Revolution.  We plant a tree for every product sold.