Good news! Since 2011, 100% of the unmodified palm oil use in The Body Shop products has been certified sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Our supplier, based in New Britain, Papua New Guinea, has been certified by RSPO.
The Body Shop’s soaps contain the largest percentage of sustainable palm oil out of all our products. All soaps at The Body Shop display the RSPO logo on the packaging, as a way of raising the profile of this important not-for-profit accreditation association.
About Palm Oil
Palm Oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world, used in everything from food to detergents, and increasingly also as a bio-fuel. The expansion of palm oil plantations has contributed to the destruction of the world's ancient rainforests and endangers animal species such as orang-utans in Borneo and Sumatra.
Endangered species at increased risk from expanding palm oil plantations in this region include the:
- Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae);
- Sumatran orang-utan (Pongo abelii); and
- Bornean orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus).
This expansion has in some instances impacted the living conditions of Indigenous people in the communities surrounding palm-oil plantations, resulting in frequent conflict over land, forced evictions and human rights violations. This is why The Body Shop has made a commitment to responsible sourcing of palm oil.
Watch The Sustainable Palm Oil video to learn more about sustainable Palm Oil from the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).
The Body Shop and Palm Oil
The Body Shop is a founding member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The RSPO is a not-for-profit association that aims to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. Watch RSPO - The Gathering Momentum video to learn more about Palm Oil and the RSPO.
The Body Shop and Daabon
The Body Shop began working with Daabon, a Colombian group in 2007. Daabon was not certified by the RSPO, as a national standard for Colombia didn’t exist at the time; however it had passed an independent audit using the Roundtable’s criteria. We also carried out our own visits to their plantations.
In late 2009 a problem suddenly emerged with Daabon involving a piece of land that had been purchased by a consortium that included Daabon. Christian Aid, an international development charity and its local partner in Colombia claimed people living on the land protected by the consortium were being evicted to make way for a new palm oil plantation.
For its part, the consortium insisted they had bought the land in good faith, and there were no signs of the land being previously occupied. The Body Shop did not have a trading relationship with the consortium, but as soon as we heard about this new issue we thought it sensible to investigate the matter for ourselves.
We commissioned an independent study in partnership with Christian Aid, which revealed how complex the underlying legal and property questions really were. We used the results of the study to suggest a number of ways Daabon might help resolve the issue, which they did take on board. The Body Shop concluded that an acceptable long-term solution was unlikely to be found, and as a result stopped trading with Daabon.
What you can do
Where possible, buy products that have been certified as sustainable.
To help protect the orang-utan from extinction support the Melbourne Zoo's Don't Palm us Off campaign, help organisations such as Borneo Orangutan Survival, The Orangutan Project or Orangutan Foundation International Australia.