Sustainable palm oil has been the talk of the town of late, with various high profile players hitting the headlines with regards to the ingredient, which is present in 70% of cosmetics products on our shelves.
While it is near-on impossible to imagine a cosmetics world without palm oil, it seems the industry and consumer goods in general are getting behind the movement to support a more sustainable future.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), major companies are essential to preventing deforestation, which is responsible for about 10% of all global warming emissions.
As palm oil has become a common ingredient in many consumer goods, the dramatic rise in demand for palm oil is driving increases in deforestation; so Colgate-Palmolive’s announcement of its sustainable strategy, is a welcome one.
“Major consumer good companies, like Colgate-Palmolive, are the linchpin to transforming the palm oil industry,” comments Sharon Smith, campaign manager with UCS’s Tropical Forest & Climate Initiative.
“We’ve seen that when consumers speak out, companies listen, and when the companies demand better palm oil, producers on the ground follow suit. Not only will this improved process reduce emissions, but it’s also a win for consumers.”
UCS recently graded the palm oil sourcing commitments of 30 top companies, including Colgate-Palmolive, and found that 24 of these household brands have inadequate commitments or lack commitments altogether.
Colgate-Palmolive’s new policy will help raise its score, which was only 44.9 out of 100 when the scorecard was released earlier this month.
“Colgate-Palmolive’s policy to source responsible palm oil is a vast improvement,” continues Smith. “It’s also great to see that Colgate-Palmolive expects its palm oil suppliers will apply the company’s new policy across all parts of their operations.”
Colgate-Palmolive plans to fully implement its commitment by 2020, although some believe this should be sped up as that would mean six years of climate emissions from deforestation and peatland conversion.
It is however a positive step for consumer goods companies after the recent allegations from Greenpeace that P&G is not doing enough to source palm oil from eco-friendly sources.
Since then, nine activists are now facing felony charges for allegedly breaking into the Cincinnati headquarters in protest.