How the palm oil industry is cleaning up its game

Each month, Cosmetics Business’s new eco report will address a pressing environmental or social issue affecting beauty brands. In January’s edition, we discover how the palm oil industry is cleaning up its game, and why switching to ingredients derived from other, less contentious plant oils might have repercussions

The world’s overreliance on palm oil for use in everything from beauty product ingredients to packaged baked goods and biofuel is having a devastating environmental impact. Fires set to clear carbon-rich forested areas to free up land for palm plantations cause both animal habitat loss and massive emissions of greenhouse gasses in Malaysia and Indonesia, which are responsible for around 85% of palm production globally.

For beauty brands, palm oil represents a versatile and cost-effective source of foaming agents and more – indeed, palm oil derivatives are used in more than 70% of personal care items.

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