Earth Renewable and Palm Oil – what’s the big deal?
In our ongoing quest to make our products the most sustainable and natural cleaning products available, we are continually working up and down our supply chain to ensure that the ingredients in every Earth Renewable product are not just less bad for people and the planet, but are truly good.
That’s why we are pleased to be the first cleaning chemical company in Australia to tackle the issue of destructive palm oil production and its effect on tropical rainforests.
So, what is palm oil? And what does palm oil have to do with cleaning products? Well, the little-known truth is that around 50% of the products on your local grocery store shelf contain palm oil. And in fact, most (at least 90%) of the cleaning products use palm kernel oil, or one of its direct derivatives, in the production of surfactants. Surfactants are one of the main active ingredients in most cleaning products.
The ugly side of growing palm is that, in order to make way for large-scale plantations, vast tracks of old growth rainforest in places like Indonesia and Borneo have been clear cut. As the global demand for palm oil skyrocketed over the last 20 years (with an almost six fold increase in production), deforestation has continued on an epic scale. It’s a ticking environmental time bomb.
Scientists refer to tropical forests as the lungs of our planet. We pump out ever increasing quantities of CO2 — the most prevalent global warming causing greenhouse gas — and our tropical forests act like giant planet scrubbers, sucking C02 out of the atmosphere and locking it away deep inside the forests.
As more and more rainforests are clearcut to make room for palm oil plantations the deforestation releases vast quanties of CO2 that have been locked away in the forests for centuries, significantly adding to the growing global warming threat. The problem has become so acute that 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions comes from deforestation, more than all emissions from the transportation sector.
In addition to being a climate change time bomb, tropical deforestation also deprives some of the world’s most endangered species (such as orangutans, elephants, and tigers) of their key habitats. As habitats are lost to palm oil production and without immediate intervention, these species face almost certain extinction. Without a change in forest practices in Indonesia, Borneo and Malaysia, it is likely that orangutans will disappear in the next five years.
Earth Renewable has worked with our suppliers to ensure that no palm oil used in our Earth Renewable products come from plantations in Indonesia or Borneo and we can provide certification to that effect.
This is just one of the ways that are continuing to strive to bring true environmental awareness and behavioural change to the cleaning chemical business.