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There are some strong views out there regarding palm oil, and rightly so. However, we believe it’s a fantastic ingredient that humans have been using as a base to make soap for hundreds of years. As the population and requirement for food production continue to grow, it is imperative that, moving forward all industries source this versatile ingredient in a sustainable way to protect both our planet and its inhabitants.  

What is palm oil?

Did you know palm oil is the world’s most used vegetable oil and can be found in many food, household and cosmetic items? The next time you’re in a supermarket, check a few labels on the food packaging, and you might be surprised to see how many items contain palm oil! The oil comes from the fruit of the oil palm tree and is produced either by squeezing the fleshy fruit or crushing kernels.


Where does palm oil come from? 

You’ll find the majority (85%) of palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia. However, our soaps contain ‘segregated’ palm, so it’s 100% traceable from only two locations worldwide, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. These are places where endangered species such as Orangutans, Rhinos and Tigers do not live. We were planning to take a trip to visit the plantations and meet the palm producers before COVID hit, but this sadly was put on hold.


What is RSPO?

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), formed in 2004, sets best practices for palm oil production and sourcing standards throughout the supply chain. We are a proud RSPO member and fully support their efforts to promote the use of sustainably sourced palm oil. To learn more about this initiative and to check out our progress, follow this link:

Why is RSPO important?

Before the pandemic hit in early 2020, the team travelled to the North of England to visit a palm oil refinery. We met our supplier, who explained the need to work closely with every aspect of the supply chain to ensure the integrity of responsibly sourced (RSPO certified) palm oil. Our palm oil supplier works with teams to help smallholder farmers to improve their crops without further deforestation. They’ve also set up a charitable organisation, NPBOL, to provide additional housing as well as educational and medical needs to native communities who rely on palm to survive. 

Sustainable ‘segregated’ palm oil

When developing our ethical brand, ‘Ministry of Soap’, we wanted to ensure it was as environmentally friendly as possible, and ingredients were a key consideration. This is why we chose sustainable ‘segregated’ palm oil, and with our new manufacturing capabilities in Somerset, we’re now able to bring all of our soap manufacturing in-house. As we make soap for ourselves and other brands, that’s a serious amount of soap (over one million bars)! Look out for RSPO certification on the packs of our soap bars; it contains the RSPO logo and our unique license number. 

According to Chester Zoo, research shows that the average carbon footprint of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil is 36% lower than that of non-certified palm oil.


Why is palm oil so controversial?

If you’re reading this, you’ll understand it’s a highly debated subject with much media attention in recent years. Just think back to the famous Iceland ad with the orangutan! Palm oil production has been linked to deforestation – destroying biodiverse habitats of endangered species, exploiting native communities, and ultimately climate change.


Who else supports sustainable palm oil?

Don’t just take our word for it; influential organisations such as Chester Zoo, various NGOs and many of the world’s leading conservationists believe sustainable palm is the way to go, including the man himself, Sir David Attenborough


Have we done enough to encourage you to become the latest advocate of sustainable palm oil? If so, please tell your friends and share your views. If we all get on board, together can help heal our beautiful planet. 

If you would like to bring an immediate and positive change into your bathroom consider our Ministry of Soap range. MOS features beautiful designs and fragrances, with simple packaging, using only paper wrappers or fabric which can be easily recycled. The soaps themselves contain no nasties, are naturally coloured (as contain no dye) and are scented with quality fragrance or essential oils.

Want to find out more about The ministry of Soap? Read our blog.

The Somerset Toiletry Company was founded in 1999 and has been developing beautiful body care and gifts ever since. Please read our about us page to find out more, or explore all our scented toiletries, home fragrances and more on our website.

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