Some companies, to be frank, very few, place an ethical approach above financial gain, and one of these is Greenscents. The British laundry & household brand has forgone the easy route and become the first company of its type in the UK to be certified Palm Oil Free with POFCAP.
Palm oil is a product that some would rather see gone. It is found in various products, from biscuits to chocolates, beauty products, ice cream, and detergents, which is apt for this piece.
A large proportion of people, when they hear the words, palm oil farming, will at least frown, and this is down to the perception that palm oil companies are destroying rainforests without a second thought. However, I will add that not all companies are guilty of this, and some are going to great lengths to implement more sustainable business practices; alas, there will always be a few bad apples, and it’s those, in the main, who are causing the problem.
Sir David Attenborough has provided us with all the visual evidence we need – palm oil plantations wreak havoc on tropical rainforests, killing their inhabitants. If the equatorial belt of tropical forests continues to be destroyed, we risk increasing loss of biodiversity, reduction in the capacity to store carbon and the consequent rise in temperatures. More than three-quarters of Indonesia’s Tesso Nilo National Park, home to tigers, orangutans and elephants, has been converted into illegal palm oil plantations.
Moving away from using palm oil is a far from a simple task as, according to the WWF, it is in almost half of the products on supermarket shelves. Some of the reasons it is so popular in the manufacturing sector are that it is colourless and odourless, is easy to grow, and is resistant to oxidisation, giving products longer shelf life. Basically, it all comes down to ways to make as much money as possible.
Given the obvious benefits palm oil offers to manufacturers, it takes huge courage for any business to prioritise the health of the planet over financial gain. One British company that has chosen the ethical path is Greenscents, a certified organic laundry and cleaning product producer.
Greenscents decided to become certified palm oil free after research into the sustainable palm oil market. In 2004, the palm oil industry set up the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). RSPO members have their palm oil ‘certified sustainable’, and brands using this palm oil get to claim that their palm oil is ‘sustainable’.
Christina Hawkes, the founder of Greenscents said, “We have always believed that third party certification is the best way to show consumers that we are a trusted ethical brand. Together with our existing certifications from The Soil Association, The Vegan Society, Cruelty-Free International and Allergy UK our certification with POFCAP provides overwhelming confirmation that Greenscents is the most ethical laundry and household brand in the UK.”
The British refillable laundry & household brand prides itself on using non-toxic formulas and using the cleanest ingredients available to them, which is not the easiest thing to do in a price sensitive consumer sector. However, unlike other companies who talk the talk by greenwashing, Greenscents is putting its money where its mouth is.
Greenscents decided to become certified by Australian based POFCAP as it is an independent, not-for-profit organisation. The international certifier was set up to help consumers quickly identify if a product, company or process is palm oil free. POFCAP distributes all profits from this certification trademark back to organisations working hard to protect rainforests worldwide.
Christina added, “We really liked these objectives, and Greenscents is proud to be funding an organisation where profits reach NGOs working to save the rainforests. Plus, we love the story behind the POFCAP logo.”
Photography (C) Natasha Godbold.
Having spent many years living in Malaysia and travelling the surrounding regions, I have seen first-hand the devastating effect palm oil production has on the environment. There will always be some people that will try to sugarcoat its impact, citing moves towards sustainability etc. Advocates for palm oil plantations can argue all they want. However, one thing that cannot be argued against is that natural biodiverse habitat is far better for the planet than a palm oil plantation.
“At Greenscents, we do not want to be directly or indirectly responsible for the declines in the tropical rainforest”, emphasised Christina. “Palm oil plantations have led to the loss of so many iconic animal species and the destruction of two-thirds of world plant species found there.”
All of the Greenscents range of 26 products has been certified by POFCAP, and all ingredients have been rigorously checked. You can see their full range of products and learn more about the company at www.greenscents.co.uk.
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