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LOCAL SHOPPERS ASKED TO “WASH THEIR HANDS OFF PALM” TO PROTECT RAINFORESTS AND ORANGUTANS
Lush cosmetics launches pan-Asia campaign against palm oil and appeals for support from customers
Cyberabad, September, 2010 — From Saturday shoppers will be encouraged by local retailer Lush Cosmetics to roll up their sleeves and get dirty by dipping their hands in green paint to help highlight the issue of rainforest destruction. Increasing demand for palm oil is leading to the wholesale destruction of rainforests in Malaysia and Indonesia, so Lush is launching a global campaign about palm oil with a new window display with a palm tree, orangutans and the slogan ‘Wash your hands off palm’. Local people will be asked to help complete the window by adding their own green palm prints to make more leaves on the tree, and then to wash their hands with a new formulation soap that is made with a palm-free base.
Date: 18th – 25th September
Time: Noon onwards
Location: LUSH, Inorbit Mall
Why is Lush in lather over palm oil? Global demand for the oil, a main ingredient in processed foods as well as soap and cosmetics, is causing the clearing of ancient rainforests, forcing indigenous people off their land and pushing orangutans to the brink of extinction to make room for more palm oil plantations. With demand for palm oil increasing and the problem getting worse, Lush decided that the only responsible thing was to reformulate its products to no longer contain palm oil. Lush worked for the past three years to develop a soap base that does not contain palm oil, and now all Lush soaps are made with this palm-free base. The switch to a palm-free soap base has meant that Lush have reduced the amount of palm oil they use by Rs 9,47,62,50 each year. Small amounts of palm oil still exist in some Lush products and our inventors are busy trying to find creative ways to remove the oil altogether.
While the cosmetics industry uses approximately 6-7 per cent of the global supply of palm oil, the biggest current usage is food, with one out of every ten items in the supermarket, from chips to breads to biscuits to margarine, containing it.
“Wash your hands off palm” campaign is an Asia wide campaign and is being carried out in LUSH stores across Asia at the same time. Other Asian countries protesting against usage of palm oil are Japan, Hong Kong and Philippines.
- • Ninety percent of the world’s palm oil comes from Malaysia and Indonesia, and the United Nations estimates that palm oil plantations are “now the primary cause of permanent rainforest loss”. If action is not immediately taken, in 15 years time 98% of the rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia will be gone.
- The expansion of palm oil plantations is now the number one threat to wild orangutans in Sumatra and Borneo. The Sumatran orangutan, listed as ‘critically endangered’, faces imminent extinction with 1,000 vanishing every year. At current rates, the entire population could become extinct in ten years time.
- Palm oil plantations are often forcibly established on land traditionally owned by indigenous peoples, and plantation development has repeatedly been associated with violent conflict.
- Estimates say Indonesia’s peat-land fires, which are set to clear land for new plantations, generate 1,400 million tones of carbon dioxide every year, contributing to its position as the world’s third-largest producer of CO2.
- While Lush has removed the lion’s share of palm oil from its new soap, traces still remain because palm oil is found in more than just soap noodles–it is also used to make Sodium Stearate and Sodium Laurel Sulfate, both common ingredients in soap. Creating a totally palm-free soap is Lush’s end goal but the task is a large one because it requires action by third-party companies. We are working with our suppliers to find out exactly how much palm oil is in these ingredients, and are looking for ways to remove palm oil from all of our products.