Let’s talk palm oil. Or should we say, sustainable palm oil, because there’s a big difference. The RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) was established in 2004 to support the production of sustainable palm oil for people and for the planet. Around 40% of the worlds palm oil producers are members of the RSPO and it’s become the globally recognised standard for sustainable palm oil.
What is sustainable palm oil?
Sustainable palm oil is categorised by eight principles and criteria which oil palm plantations are marked against in order to be certified. This sustainability criteria relates to social, environmental and economic good practice.
These principles include things like a commitment to transparency, environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, and responsible consideration of employees and of individuals and communities affected by palm oil growers and mills.
So, what’s this got to do with nuddy?
When it comes to nuddy, we’ve always remained transparent about what our brand stands for, what ingredients we use and where we’ve come from (if you’ve been following us from the start, then you’ll know we started from a kitchen table!)
Our vision was, and still is, to change the world of bar soap. We want to modernise the out-dated category of soap and shampoo bars to make using your little block of heaven what we like to call ‘cool again’.
We already create high-quality, vegan products using great ingredients and we’re proud to be 100% plastic free and we always will be. We care about you, and we care about the planet.
So, with this in mind, it’s come to our attention that we need to share with you our policies and clarify our use of palm oil in our products so we can keep the glass between you and us crystal clear.
Our sustainable palm oil use
The oils we use in our each of our products are all carefully sourced from the best and most sustainable plantations. When it comes to our use of palm oil, it’s no different.
The palm oil you will find in your nuddy soap bar is from accredited and certified sustainable plantations and it is therefore sustainable palm oil from long existing plantations. This is what makes your bar of nuddy slightly more expensive than other soaps on the market, but it also means we are able to use sustainably sourced ingredients that provide the most lathery, rich and organic soap possible.
Why is palm oil a controversial ingredient?
Palm oil itself is a vegetable oil used in lots of popular everyday products, from food to makeup. If you check the back of lots of products you use on a daily basis, you’ll see palm oil in the ingredients list. It’s because it’s so widely used that certain problems arise.
For example, plantations for palm oil are growing at an alarming rate, resulting in huge areas of the rainforest being cut down, vital habitats destroyed, and endangered species being put at risk. This is fundamentally wrong. We know that as a brand, and more importantly as the people behind the brand, that we all need to play our part in preserving and protecting the planet and its inhabitants.
You might then be thinking, ‘So, why use palm oil at all?’ Our answer: the manufacturing of soap is completely dependant on oil - it makes up for over 80% of the formulation. Without oil, you cannot make natural soap. For our soap to be the highest quality, last longer and perform better, sustainable palm oil is the best option as no other oils work quite as well. The quality of many other products on supermarket shelves are not so dependant on the use of this particular oil. Additionally, if all companies switched to an alternative oil, we would be creating further demand for new plantations to be created for alternative vegetable oil options. Increasing the demand for an alternative source would only perpetuate the problem and not eliminate it. It could lead to further deforestation, new plantations being built, further damage to the environment and a whole new demand for a vegetable oil that has not been branded as negative, yet. It is also worth noting that per hector, the farming of alternative oils would be have much more devastating effects. This is why we need to find the balance.
So, what’s the solution?
Completely rejecting all palm oil, we believe, is not the answer. The answer is to play a part in changing the industry. We want to spread the word about sustainable palm oil and share helpful resources around the topic – some of which, we’ve pasted below for you if you’d like to find out more.
We might be a small(ish) start up brand, but we’re another company who refuses to use anything less than RSPO approved, sustainable palm oil in our products. This means that the palm oil we use is produced without harming the rainforests or the species that depend on it for survival and we’re joining a choir of voices who are calling out all companies who do not do the same!
We understand that the industry isn’t faultless. But we insist our suppliers source palm oil from traceable plantations who have not contributed to mass deforestation and we will never use unsustainable palm oil in our products, ever.
In his 2019 documentary series, Seven Worlds One Planet, David Attenborough states that one way we can help our forest relatives is by ‘buying products made with deforestation-free, sustainable palm oil from companies that support local people, using existing plantations without cutting down more rainforest is the best option’.
If the KING of environmental conservation backs sustainable palm oil, then we know we’re on the right lines.
To read more about sustainable palm oil, or to watch some of the legendary documentaries created by David Attenborough, please see below:
David Attenborough – Seven Worlds, One Planet https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/p07dzjwl/seven-worlds-one-planet
David Attenborough – A Life on Our Planet - Trailer
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
BBC - What is Sustainable Palm Oil