Lush Cosmetics has reformulated its soaps with a palm-free base in an effort to eliminate palm oil from its products. By reformulating with a palm-free soap base, the company will reduce the amount of palm oil it uses by 133,000 pounds or 60.5 metric tons per year.
This effort is a part of the company's national campaign against the use of palm oil, which will include letters to top cosmetic manufacturers requesting a reformulation to reduce or eliminate palm oil in their products. According to the company, the mass usage of palm oil is destroying rainforests, specifically in Indonesia and Malaysia where 90% of the ingredient is sourced. The company also notes that harvesting the ingredient is endangering the orangutan population in those countries.
Traces of palm oil will remain in some of the company's products, however, while product formulators work to find creative ways to remove the oil altogether. The company notes that palm oil is used to make sodium stearate and sodium lauryl sulfate, both common ingredients in soap. Creating a totally palm-free soap is the company's end goal, which reportedly will require action by third-party companies.
The company reports that it is working with its suppliers to determine exactly how much palm oil is in these ingredients, and it is looking for ways to remove palm oil from all of its products. While the cosmetics industry uses approximately 6-7% of the global supply of palm oil, the largest use of the material currently is in food, according to the company. Lush urges other retailers and manufacturers to cut their palm oil use as well, and is partnering with the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) in efforts to encourage businesses to source their ingredients responsibly.