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GRIN’S PALM OIL FREE SEAL GIVE ORANGUTANS A CHOICE

Do orangutans have a choice when their homes are destroyed? The answer is no, but it could be different. It all depends on our choices as producers and consumers. At Grin, we believe in giving the 6,000 orangutans we lose every year to palm oil production, and all the other species with whom we share our planet, the choice to keep their habitats and livelihoods. This is why we have always been palm oil free. Recently, we also got the Orangutan Alliance’s seal of approval: we are now Certified Palm Oil Free.

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What is palm oil?

Palm oil is derived from the fruit of the African oil palm tree. Like plastic, it’s incredibly versatile and is used across a range of products: from foods like chips, biscuits and chocolates to beauty products like lipsticks, shampoos, soaps and toothpaste. Oil palm is the highest yielding vegetable oil crop, making palm oil one of the cheapest vegetable oils in the world. Palm oil is found in up to 50 percent of the products in New Zealand supermarkets.

How does palm oil impact the environment?

Mass production of palm oil in order to meet the increasing demands of consumers has led to disastrous impact on the planet. According to The Orangutan Project, every hour almost 300 football fields worth of forest is cleared across South East Asia to make way for palm oil plantations. Around 90 percent of the world’s palm oil comes from Malaysia and Indonesia so it comes as no surprise that palm oil plantations are the leading cause of rainforest destruction in both countries. Not only does this vast destruction impact wildlife, it also contributes to air pollution, soil pollution, water pollution, and climate change. 

How does palm oil impact wildlife?

The biggest and most detrimental impact of palm oil production on wildlife is habitat loss. With Indonesia and Malaysia producing most of the world’s palm oil, the impact on the wildlife in these countries is huge. What’s worse, these countries are home to some of the greatest biodiversity on Earth. Over 80 endemic and critically endangered species like the Sumatran Rhinoceros, Sumatran tiger, Bornean pygmy elephant, and Bornean orangutan are at risk of becoming extinct if humans continue down their current path.

Is sustainable palm oil ok?

The most common certification system that sustainable palm oil producers use is RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil); however, until late last year, the RSPO had not ensured deforestation free palm oil. While the regulations covered primary and high conservation forests, they excluded secondary forest growth and peatland. 

To date, the research available around sustainable palm oil has presented unfavourable results. A study released by the Department of Natural Sciences and Forestry (FNR) of Purdue University in the USA analyzed the most updated datasets available to science, including those from the Global Forest Watch, Greenpeace International, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, the RSPO and the Aidenvironment. It found that certified concessions do not differ much from those not certified. The study was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment and reported that between “2001 to 2016 about 40% of the area present in the current RSPO concessions suffered a significant habitat degradation (caused by deforestation, fires or other damage to the trees) before being converted into oil plantations and that this loss of tree cover occurred both before and after the start of the RSPO agreement (2004) and the POIG initiative (2013).”

After much debate, controversy and pressure from consumers and environmental organisations around the rules and regulations in place, the RSPO tightened its standards. In November 2018, they announced that their new regulations will include a ban on planting on peatlands and other carbon-rich soils, the integration of high carbon stock and high conservation value requirements to protect forests and the strengthening of human rights and labour requirements. Members of the RSPO will also be required to publish a list of mills from which they obtain palm oil. While this is definitely good news in terms of progress, the new regulations don’t come into effect for another two years. In order to make a real difference, the RSPO needs to put these new regulations into action now.

The RSPO also doesn’t have a great track record in terms of certification audits and member compliance. The organisation has consistently been deficient in carrying out audits and has failed to pick up on non-compliant members. In September 2018, Greenpeace investigations exposed deforestation violations by 14 RSPO members. Some of these cases not only broke RSPO standards, they also broke Indonesian law.

The many names used to disguise palm oil

There are currently over 200 alternative names given to palm oil to try disguise its use in products. To help consumers identify some of these names, we’ve provided a list of the most commonly used ones below. For the full list, click here.

PKO—palm kernel oil
PHPKO—partially hydrogenated palm oil
FP(K)O—fractionated palm oil
OPKO—organic palm kernel oil
Palmitate—vitamin A or asorbyl palmitate
Palmate
SLS—sodium lauryl sulphate (can also be from coconut)
SDS or NaDS—sodium dodecyl sulphate
Elaeis guineensis (palm oil’s scientific name)
Glycerin or Glycerol (442)
Glyceryl stearate
Stearic acid
Chemicals which contain palm oil
Steareth-2
Steareth-20
Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (coconut and/or palm)
Hydrated palm glycerides
Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye (derived from vegetable stearic acid)
Cetyl palmitate
Octyl palmitate

Grin's Palm Oil Alternatives

1) Glycerine
The glycerine that Grin uses in toothpastes is 100% pure and derived from soybean and/or rapeseed.
2) Lauryl Glucoside
The lauryl glucoside that Grin uses is derived from coconut.

Our closest living relatives are hanging on for dear life

According to research published in the journal, Current Biology, over 100,000 critically endangered Bornean orangutans have been lost between 1999 and 2015. The main culprits? Deforestation driven by logging, oil palm, mining and paper mills. The research also predicts that over the next 35 years, deforestation alone could wipe out a further 45,000 Bornean orangutans. To put it all into perspective, it is estimated that there are around 104,700 orangutans remaining in Borneo. 

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"We are excited to collaborate with Grin to provide consumers natural and palm oil free choices in the oral care category. The Grin range is a great example of great product innovation that combines quality with ethical brand values."

Maria Abadilla - Chairperson of Orangutan Alliance

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Orangutan Alliance Palm Oil Free Seal is a sign of trust and care. As a consumer you can make a difference with your purchase. By purchasing NO PALM OIL CERTIFIED PRODUCTS, you support the movement that helps conserve endangered species like the Orangutan and the environment. When you see the NO PALM OIL SEAL, you can be confident that the products are palm oil free, deforestation free and are good for the orangutans.