Many products could be labeled as vegan, but are not necessarily vegan in impact. A product may appear to be dairy-free, and could be labeled as not having been tested on animals, but it does not necessarily mean that it did not endanger animals and / or their habitat during its production.
The admirable principle that underlines veganism is prevention of harm to animals. It is not only the conviction for a plant-based diet for health purposes, or for reasons of ecological sustainability, but also that animals should neither be treated poorly nor be killed, for human consumption, or for human demands. But how far is this concept examined when it comes to the sourcing of the plants or plant-based products, themselves?
Many grocery and beauty items are made with palm oil because it is versatile. With a high melting point, a long shelf life, the ability to be used as an emulsifier, among other interesting qualities, palm oil has become a hidden staple inside a broad range of every day items such as cosmetics and every day grocery items - including those labelled as vegan.
But does this ingredient adhere to vegan principles?
Most of the world’s palmoil comes from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines - with newer sources being cultivated in certain African countries. Multiple reports will indicate that eastern Asian palm oil is linked to severe animal cruelty, and destruction of animal habitat.
When palm oil is cultivated, animals are displaced. Many reports indicate severe cruelty, and the words machete, dismemberment, poisoning and poachers paint the picture. Particularly at risk are elephants, tigers, rhinos and orangutans.
In the early 2000s thanks to the tireless work of NGOs, many international financial institutions attempted to regulate lending for palm oil production. However, the industry still prevails, with attempts at sustainable palm oil production, and more recently responsible production. These attempts require certain criteria to be applied such as re-using land for palm oil cultivation, and working with local communities. But these same criteria fall short of negating ecological impact - and whatever the label, one simply cannot disassociate existing palm oil sources from animal cruelty.
Vegan as an ingredient, palm oil hides under myriad names: sodium palmate, palm oil derived stearic acid, and even vegetable oil. But with the trail of ecological harm, and animal cruelty palm oil is not vegan in impact.
To see a list of products that contain palm oil please see HERE.
All That Yazz products are free of palm oil.