Simon Chrismas, business development executive at GreenPalm, which allows businesses to off-set their palm use by purchasing certificates from RSPO-certified producers, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com that there is a good level of understanding of the palm oil issue among the beauty industry and growing acceptance of the need to respond.
“From our conversations with various companies in the industry, the understanding of the issues and options available is largely there,” he said, adding that there has been an increase in membership enquiries and requests for information from cosmetics and personal care players.
“We are confident that other companies will make a firm commitment in 2011, be this via GreenPalm or a combination of GreenPalm and the other three approved RSPO supply chain options,” he said.
Oriflame sets the pace
When it comes to pledging support to sustainable palm oil production through the purchase of GreenPalm certificates, companies can choose to cover their entire palm usage or can choose to cover a particular brand or market.
Avon, which is currently going through the GreenPalm membership process, has announced its intention to use GreenPalm certificates to cover its entire palm usage, and Oriflame, which was the first major cosmetics brand to fully cover its palm oil usage, has redeemed the equivalent of 3,000 tonnes of RSPO certified crude palm oil, and 3,000 tonnes of crude palm kernel oil in both 2010 and 2011.
Palm oil issue more complex for cosmetics industry
Chrismas said that sustainable sourcing is particularly complex for the cosmetic and personal industry due to the complexity of many derivatives and confusion surrounding the sourcing of lauric acid-based ingredients, which can be derived from either coconut or palm oil.
The widespread use within cosmetics and personal care products of palm kernel oil, which is not yet available in a certified sustainable form, adds another layer of complexity to the sourcing issue.
“With the palm kernel oil demand market being a lot smaller than palm oil, the complex and costly nature of applying a fully segregated supply chain is not commercially viable,” said Chrismas.
In order to stimulate the market and create the supply chains required, support needs to be channeled through RSPO-endorsed systems to where the process begins, he said. “If end product manufactures who are using palm kernel support producers, the market begins to switch itself and ultimately the physical supply chains begins to flow.”