Palm oil is used because it’s cheap, and it also contains saturated fat. It’s shipped thousands of miles from Indonesia to put in junk food and its use is destroying the habitats of orangutans and other endangered creatures. Greenpeace says the phrase ‘sustainable palm oil’ is ‘as useful as a chocolate teapot’. Instead look for the palm oil free certification mark.
Read Planet Palm about how palm oil ended up in everything. Food writer Ruth Reichl says this book will ‘make you cry and gnash your teeth and fill you with rage’. It’s also important for vegans to take a stand, as many companies now include palm oil, which they shouldn’t, and organisations should not certify them either as vegan, if they contain it. Palm oil is multi-billion-dollar industry is built on stolen land and labour, and caused fires and mass deforestation that also generates carbon emissions to rival entire urban nations, pushing orangutans and other species to the brink of extinction. Just learn to cook your own food and choose better food brands (that pay a little extra to buy rapeseed oil that supports our local farmers too). Also choose palm-oil-free vegan butters and pastry.
also choose palm-oil-free soaps
Now that most people won’t buy beef fat in soaps (sodium tallowate) the big brands have switch to palm oil (sodium palmate). Buy neither and look for soaps made with coconut or olive oil. Slightly more expensive but worth it. You may have to look in health stores (or just search this site!
Avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing or affected medical conditions. Avoid shea butter for latex allergies (keep essential oils and cocoa butter away from pets).
Dove contains palm oil, and is owned by Unilever (one of the world’s biggest users of palm oil). Friends of the Earth is demanding the company takes action by not buying from conflict palm oil companies). One woman who had itchy skin after using the soap visited a dermatologist, who recommended medicines that did not work. So she popped to Holland & Barrett, invested in a plain ugly cheap bar of Oliva soap (made with olive oil, water and soap) and her skin started to heal ‘within hours’.