Global demand for palm oil, used as the main ingredient in processed foods, soaps and cosmetics, has resulted in the clearing of many ancient rainforests to make way for palm oil plantations. As a result, indigenous people are being displaced, the native orangutan population is heading for extinction and the area’s fragile ecosystem is being jeopardized.
While some companies such as Cadbury are paying no attention and are actually increasing their use of palm oil, others such as LUSH Cosmetics are very concerned and plan on finding ways to stop using this destructive ingredient altogether.
This week, LUSH cosmetics launched an innovative campaign to make the public aware of what the increased demand for palm oil is doing to rainforests in Malaysia and Indonesia.
It’s a multifaceted campaign:
First, LUSH Cosmetics announced plans to become a palm oil-free company, selling a newly-formulated soap made with groundbreaking palm-free soap base. This palm oil-free soap, three years in the making, will result in LUSH being able to reduce the amount of palm oil they use by 133,000 pounds or 60.5 tons per year – the equivalent of saving 36.3 acres of primary rainforest from destruction.
Secondly, LUSH is writing to the top 300 known palm oil user companies (such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Nestle) and asking them to follow LUSH’s lead and reformulate their products so that they, too, are palm oil-free. As an incentive, LUSH is offering to supply each company who does this with a year’s supply of soap.
Thirdly, LUSH has launched an interactive window display at 48 shops across the United States during August. At each display, which features a giant palm tree, orangutans and the slogan “Wash Your Hands of Palm,” people are invited to dip their hands in green paint and add their palm prints into leaves on the palm tree. The paint is then washed off with LUSH’s new palm-oil free soap. Plus, they will be given a free sample soap to take home with them.
LUSH is also selling a limited-edition tree shaped soap called Jungle with 100 percent of proceeds from its sales donated to the Rainforest Foundation, a nonprofit that works with indigenous people to protect their forest homes from expanding palm oil plantations.