On World Orangutan Day last year (19th August 2019), we got awarded our Palm Oil Accreditation from Palm Oil Investigations (POI) – so we have now been a “POI Approved Brand” for 1 year – a huge achievement for all of us here at SO!
The Accreditation involved a two-year project of removing approximately 50% of all pre-packaged products from stores containing unsustainable and untraceable palm oil and replacing items with organic, palm oil free alternatives. In addition to removing many of our best-selling products, we replaced around 80% of our cleaning, personal care and natural remedy products from stores and have also inspired some of our local suppliers and product manufacturers to reformulate their products as a result!
Palm oil can be hidden in over 200 + ingredients, so this was in no way a simple or quick task. With the support of Lorinda Jane (Founder of Palm Oil Investigations), we worked hard to transition our product range to now stock only the most ethical, cruelty-free products that don’t contribute to deforestation and habitat loss.
The growing popularity for palm oil is currently the leading cause of rainforest deforestation, with 300 football fields of forest being cleared every hour to make room for plantations. As an Environmental Not-for-profit organisation, Santos Organics has taken firm action to help save rainforests and protect critically threatened species like orangutans, tigers and rhinos in Indonesia.
As part of our new Palm Oil Policy, we now only stock a handful of products that contain traceable, “Identity Preserved” palm oil that has been verified and approved by Palm Oil Investigations and can be traced back to specific palm oil plantations in Africa, Papua New Guinea or Colombia (see below).
This means that the palm oil is uniquely traceable to the source, country, company and plantation so that it can be identified as coming from a single origin and we know that it is physically kept separate from all other potentially unsustainable palm oil sources. We do not stock any palm oil that comes from Indonesia or Malaysia or from palm oil supply chains where the exact source of the palm oil cannot be identified.
With untraceable palm oil, there is no way to tell where the supply is coming from, which country, which producer, which plantation or what it is contributing to. This then leaves doubt if the supply is ethical or not, as there is no way to identify if the supply has destroyed habitat, is contributing to extinction or violating human rights issues.
At this stage, we feel that it is important to support farmers who are doing the right thing with palm oil production rather than completely boycott palm oil altogether as this can potentially put similar pressure on alternative oils (such as coconut).
Lorinda from Palm Oil Investigations says that around 90% of ‘sustainable’ or ‘certified sustainable’ palm oil on the market is actually unsustainable and untraceable. This can be confusing for consumers as it becomes difficult to know where the palm oil is really coming from or to trust claims made by manufacturers about ‘sustainable’ palm oil production and certification. Ultimately, this also makes it very difficult to understand the full damage that palm oil production is causing to rainforests.
You can be confident shopping at Santos Organics knowing that we check every single ingredient before it is stocked on shelves, to ensure that it aligns with our strict Ethics Procurement policy and now also meets our Palm Oil Certification standards and requirements. We do the research so that you don’t have to!
Basically everything in our stores, with the exception of the products listed below are now palm free, and the following brands that we have continued to stock in-stores contain traceable palm oil or palm derived ingredients that can be traced back to plantations and have been approved by our Ethics Researcher and Consulting body, Palm Oil Investigations.
- Ecostore (New Britain Palm Oil Ltd – PNG)
- Dr Bronners (Serendipalm – Eastern Ghana)
- Holle (Daabon – Colombia)
- Vrindavan Soaps (Daabon – Colombia)
- Rapunzel Bouillon cubes (Daabon – Colombia)
- Mexicana Chips (Daabon – Colombia)
- Britts Organic Bakery (Daabon – Colombia)
For more information on what it means to be a POI Approved Brand and all the amazing work that this organisation does, check out their website: https://www.palmoilinvestigations.org/