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another indictment against palm oil

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SoapDaddy70

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I just started making soap and have not used palm oil yet. Not sure why I haven't yet but this latest article is going to make it hard to do so. Pretty scary stuff. I am not informed enough to enter into a debate concerning the use of palm oil in soapmaking but when stories like this come out it becomes hard to justify purchasing palm oil knowing that these kinds of things are going on at these plantations.
 

cmzaha

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I just started making soap and have not used palm oil yet. Not sure why I haven't yet but this latest article is going to make it hard to do so. Pretty scary stuff. I am not informed enough to enter into a debate concerning the use of palm oil in soapmaking but when stories like this come out it becomes hard to justify purchasing palm oil knowing that these kinds of things are going on at these plantations.
Things go on like this in many industries, such as the garment industry for example. Do keep in mind, many villagers have no way to feed their families without the palm industry whether we like it or not since it is their only industry. So, I for one will continue to buy and use palm and put humans first. Sorry, many here will disagree with me and that is everyone's right.
 

earlene

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IMO, rape, human trafficking, child labor and outright slavery are not an indictment against a product. They are evidence of underlying propensities for violence, sadism, and callous disregard for others, be it women, children or any other person outside themselves. It does not matter what the industry, if any at all, these horrible people work in or run, they will find a way to do what they do where ever they go until they are stopped. Ending an industry will not put an end to the rapists, human trafficers, child labor, slavers and other violent abusers; it will just make go somewhere else to do it.
 

KiwiMoose

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I think that kind of thing wouldn't go on if it was sustainable palm oil @SoapDaddy70 - but who knows? I always take everything I read on the internet with a grain of salt these days. Not saying I don't think the exploitation happens, I'm sure it does. I agree wholeheartedly with @earlene 's post above.
Having said that, I don't use palm in my soap. It just has a bad rap over here in NZ, so I use it as a selling point.
 

Saponificarian

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Simple, don't buy Indonesia palm oil, buy West African Palm oil. I hope you know Indonesia is not the only country that produces palm.

There are bad eggs everywhere... I walked a way from a job in Nigeria, one of the foremost banks in Africa when my boss propositioned me for a job I should have gotten based on my competency, qualification and such.. Job was later given to an incompetent idiot simply because I said go to hell and the other candidate was a man.

In Nigeria, the case that @cmzaha stated is true. Farmers will starve if they don't farm palm but ultimately, to each their own.
 

justjacqui

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It does seem a little unfair to blame this exploitation entirely on the cosmetics industry. I remember reading that half of Europe's palm oil usage was actually for biodiesel and a large proportion is also used in foods. This article didn't seem to blame those driving diesel vehicles.

Unfortunately, exploitation of women is still a major issue globally. I do hope that globally we are moving in a positive direction but sadly it still occurs.
 

GemstonePony

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It's a human problem, not a palm problem, and the cocoa plantations and Coconut farms are rumored to have the same problems. The clothing industry, food/farm industry in general, manufacturing industry- all have those problems as well. Unfortunately, the only way to be sure your ingredients- and most materials in your day-to-day life- are ethically harvested by people who are treated well is to either grow it yourself or know the people who harvest it personally.
That said, if you're in the US it's relatively easy to make a nice soap without including palm, and I firmly believe you should follow your conscience.
 

SoapDaddy70

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It's a human problem, not a palm problem, and the cocoa plantations and Coconut farms are rumored to have the same problems. The clothing industry, food/farm industry in general, manufacturing industry- all have those problems as well. Unfortunately, the only way to be sure your ingredients- and most materials in your day-to-day life- are ethically harvested by people who are treated well is to either grow it yourself or know the people who harvest it personally.
That said, if you're in the US it's relatively easy to make a nice soap without including palm, and I firmly believe you should follow your conscience.
Perfectly said. To be honest I really don’t know what my conscience is telling me. Both choices seem self serving in the end. Either make soap without palm oil and use it as a selling point if I ever do start selling my soap or use palm oil because it is relatively cheap and seems to be in most balanced soap recipes. Just thinking out loud here. Thanks for everyone’s viewpoints on this matter.
 

Kamahido

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Perfectly said. To be honest I really don’t know what my conscience is telling me. Both choices seem self serving in the end. Either make soap without palm oil and use it as a selling point if I ever do start selling my soap or use palm oil because it is relatively cheap and seems to be in most balanced soap recipes. Just thinking out loud here. Thanks for everyone’s viewpoints on this matter.
I personally don't use Palm Oil as there is a cheaper alternative... Tallow. I've had people question my choice to use this animal product, however I always tell them I use it for ethical reasons. Cows are butchered for their meat, not their fat. If no one used it, the fat would most certainly be sent to the landfill, as it is of little monetary value compared to the meat. I view that as being extremely wasteful.
 
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Misschief

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I personally don't use Palm Oil as is a cheaper alternative... Tallow. I've had people question my choice to use this animal product, however I always tell them I use it for ethical reasons. Cows are butchered for their meat, not their fat. If no one used it, the fat would most certainly be sent to the landfill, as it is of little monetary value compared to the meat. I view that as being extremely wasteful.
I've actually created a brochure for my teensy little soap business and, in it, I have that very argument as to why I use animal fats and will not apologize for it.

As for Palm, I have a tub of it here (nearly finished now) that I use for one or two of my soaps. Next time I order it, I'll be ordering less than the 3 kgs I ordered last time. I'm afraid it may go rancid before I can use it all up. I understand all the criticism of the palm industry but, as others have pointed out, it certainly isn't the only industry where this kind of behaviour exists. The cocoa/chocolate industry comes to mind, the garment industry, even avocado growing areas are not immune from documentaries we've watched. Corruption, greed, and power struggles happen everywhere, resulting in unnecessary injury, and even death.
 
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AliOop

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Working in the adoption field, I cannot tell you how many women (mostly undocumented Hispanics but also many East Indian, Arab, Asian) are raped in the fields here in the US, and also in the migrant worker housing. And the hotel industry is a huge one, as well.

Yet still they come to the US bc it is better than the situation in their home country — where they will starve AND be raped, trafficked, etc. Young boys are also often the victims, although of course, they don’t end up pregnant, so my work doesn’t intersect with their lives.

As noted, it is a human problem. We cannot stop eating food, wearing clothes, etc., but we can pray and work for protection and justice for the least of these.
 

Claudette Carignan

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Palm oil has opened quite the platform for discussion. Sadly this type of behavior goes on everywhere in the world. It’s not the product that is causing the issue of rape sex trafficking etc..... it’s the economy in a lot of countries and the governments not stepping in to change things. People need to survive and do whatever they can to put food on their tables for their families. This debate can go on forever and not just in regards to palm oil. It’s sad but true.
 

Jillyb

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I use RSPO palm and if we belive all we read (Im sure some of it is factual) we wouldn't use coconut (for the same reasons as palm) or olive (apparently 80% of world stock is diluted with chesper oils) not to mention all the toxins in some products.
This doesn't leave us much to make soap with. I think we all need to make our own choices. Personally I try and go for certified options. Having said that I know a local coffee sipplier who goes and personally visits and spends time with his growers and they are ckean, safe organic but can't afford the huge certification costs.
We lived in Myanmar for a while were at thay time many were living off less than a $1 per day but without that job thier family would starve.. its not right to treat anyone less than you'd like to be treated.
There is always so much more to what we read. Who really knows what goes on in any industry. I dont have a solution its certainly a human dollar driven problem. 😥
 

Ijeoma Soronnadi

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IMO, rape, human trafficking, child labor and outright slavery are not an indictment against a product. They are evidence of underlying propensities for violence, sadism, and callous disregard for others, be it women, children or any other person outside themselves. It does not matter what the industry, if any at all, these horrible people work in or run, they will find a way to do what they do where ever they go until they are stopped. Ending an industry will not put an end to the rapists, human trafficers, child labor, slavers and other violent abusers; it will just make go somewhere else to do it.
Literally. I tell people all the time that those things are to be addressed with THOSE companies. Some of us have personal, safe, AND sustainable sources. So what does that have to do with anybody else? They need to charge the aggressor to the full extent of that country's law and if the company refuses to address it, STOP supporting them. Then find other sources. There are PLENTY. Such myopic thinking. From Americans at that???

This case in particular is not a war on palm but a war on women. I'm not even political but a lot of anti-palmers have extremely misplaced priorities.
 
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TheGecko

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I just started making soap and have not used palm oil yet. Not sure why I haven't yet but this latest article is going to make it hard to do so. Pretty scary stuff. I am not informed enough to enter into a debate concerning the use of palm oil in soapmaking but when stories like this come out it becomes hard to justify purchasing palm oil knowing that these kinds of things are going on at these plantations.
A few things here:

1) The title of the article is deliberate, it is meant to evoke outrage: Oh those poor women and children...being abused because of gasp...make up. The fact is, of the top 15 products (Biodiesel, Biscuits, Chocolate, Cookies, Detergent, Face wash, Ice cream, Instant Noodles, Lipstick, Margarine, Packaged Bread, Packaged Pastries, Pizza Dough, Shampoo and Soap), only one is an actual 'beauty product'; the majority are used in food products.

2) For all the hype in the article, Indonesia and Malaysia don't even make the United Nation's list of the top five worst countries when it comes to this kind of stuff, nor do they make the US State Department's top 21 list.

3)This kind of stuff has nothing to do with a product, it has to do with the human condition. You can research olive oil and coconut oil and find negative reviews about its production because of its growing popularity. So NOT using a product isn't going to change conditions, it's only going to change product. On the other hand, supporting a product is that responsibly and sustainably produced can change the condition. Of course, it's not cheap. But it is what it is.

With the above said, I am not trying to get you or guilt you into using RSPO...it's a personal choice and doesn't make you a good/bad person. Just want you to understand that not everything is black and white and to check your emotions when it comes to articles like the above. Make sure the decisions YOU make are yours, not someone else's.
 

asmita

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The reason people/natural resources from Asian and African countries are exploited is because there are corporations/governments who gain from it. When you look at the ingredient list of products you consume and seek to know where the ingredients are coming from and at what price, you'll see who is exploiting.

For Shea butter to be available at a certain price, after transportation and crossing several tiers of sellers, at what price do you think it is purchased from actual cultivators? It is the same story for Palm oil, coconut oil or any other oil that does not grow in your region.

Palm oil is so much in news because the food lobby does not want other industries to use it (this is oversimplification) and thus raise the price.

If you truly want to contribute in reduction of exploitation, reduce consumption. Not just of palm oil but consumption across board. The simple fact is that Human greed is the reason for exploitation. Just because you can pay the price of an ingredient doesn't mean that there isn't a larger cost to the planet. I am from India and the best quality of our produce is exported to developed countries at piddly prices and the farmers hardly get anything. The prices of much much inferior quality of the same produce in Indian stores is much higher than the price at which they are available in the developed country stores!
 

mishmish

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IMO, rape, human trafficking, child labor and outright slavery are not an indictment against a product. They are evidence of underlying propensities for violence, sadism, and callous disregard for others, be it women, children or any other person outside themselves. It does not matter what the industry, if any at all, these horrible people work in or run, they will find a way to do what they do where ever they go until they are stopped. Ending an industry will not put an end to the rapists, human trafficers, child labor, slavers and other violent abusers; it will just make go somewhere else to do it.
I agree. the problem is men taking advantage of their position or their strength to harm women. I had a bank manager boss who always tried to cop a feel in the close confines of the photocopier room. After talking to other admin staff, we discovered that he tried it with all the younger women. We reported him and got him transferred, but that was only because the bank president believed us. Individually, each one of us was afraid to say anything because we were afraid of "his word against hers". Women working in the fields or in humble positions don't have anyone to stand up for them.
 
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