Whether we’re aware of it or not, this oil is a product many of us use on a regular basis. Derived from the reddish pulp of the fruit of the oil palms, the oil is used in food manufacturing, in beauty products as well as a biofuel. To give a little context behind the extensive uses of this versatile product:
The oil is found in ice cream, margarine, packaged bread as well as in many packaged foods in the industry. In fact, it is the most used vegetable oil in the world. Not only used in the food industry, but this versatile product is often used in health, cosmetic and cleaning products, including lipsticks, shampoos, soaps, and detergents. The oil is also used as a biodiesel.
Although palm oil is used in numerous industries ranging from food to diesel, the product has attracted the concern of several environmental groups and organisations due to the production method. Due to deforestation in the tropics where the palm oil trees are grown, and due to the social problems that have risen due to allegations of human rights violations among production workers and growers, the environmental and ethical production of palm oil has come under question and has become a topic of discussion among the community.
In order to manufacture the product, forests have been cleared in parts of Indonesia and Malaysia to make space for the trees to grow. They are then ultimately harvested. This process has significantly impacted the environmental ecosystem leading to deforestation and biodiversity loss especially among rainforests. In fact, this manufacturing process has resulted in the significant habitat loss of the surviving species of orangutan, one species being the Sumatran orangutans now critically endangered due to the cultivation of palm oil.
The destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests is a global crisis and the development of deforestation in order for palm trees to be planted is a root cause of Indonesia’s forest and peatland fires, with many fires being deliberately started to clear land before planting. This process of burning has gone so far as to ground flights and has forced the closure of schools and offices, such that happened in 2015 when peatland fires spread across large areas of Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Papua. This deforestation of forests for the salvation of pulp and oil pams has devastated he rainforest ecosystem, destroying the vital habitat for tigers, elephants, rhinoceros, orangutans, and other endangered species.
Palm oil development has not only raised environmental concerns but has resulted in significant social conflict in areas where this product is grown and cultivated. Regions with significant production rates of palm oil have experiences violations of indigenous land rights, increased influxes of illegal immigrant labour and labour practices as well as other related human rights violations. Although the palm oil industry provides employment opportunities and has also shown to improve local community’s infrastructure, social services and has reduced poverty, palm tree plantation comes with its consequences. Palm oil plantations have developed lands without the consultation of the indigenous people inhabiting the land. This has resulted in social conflict. The use of illegal immigrants in Malaysia has also raised concerns about the working conditions within the industry. Due to this, the cultivation and plantation of palm has raised concern with regard to where we are to draw the ethical and moral boundaries.
Here at Euclove, we understand the drastic implications behind the plantation of palm trees for palm, and we recognise the many environmental and social consequences that have resulted due to the manufacturing process. Due to this, palm oil is not an ingredient in any of Euclove’s products. Although palm oil provides many moisturising properties often used in many cleaning products, here at Euclove we have successfully found ways to avoid using the oil while also obtaining an equally affective result. We have achieved this by substituting palm with more environmentally friendly oils including coconut and neem oil. In our floor cleaner for example, glycerine, derived from coconut oil is a natural by-product of our liquid soap making process and contain numerous moisturising properties. It is family safe, made in Australia and cruelty free. And made without palm oil!
Here at Euclove, we support the environmental and social movement toward reducing palm oil manufacturing and believe it is of vital importance to find newer more energy efficient ways of attaining successful results with our products. In order to better our environment, in order to better our community, and in order to better our world, Euclove has chosen to take the moral path toward achieving a better, brighter future. For our families, our health and for our planet.