Palm Oil Update
Letter from our CEO
To our Seed & Sprout Community,
I hope you are all doing ok, or as best you can, during these difficult times.
You may recall that earlier this year we became aware that some of our products contained traces of Palm Oil. The discovery came as a huge shock and to say that it knocked us to the ground is an understatement. After a period of reflection on what went wrong, we picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and commenced a complete overhaul of our processes to ensure that we could restore your trust in us.
Alongside a thorough business audit, we commenced the arduous task of reformulating our Bars to a 100% Palm Oil Free formula. Determined to make sure they performed as well, if not better, than previously. We went through countless amounts of samples (which resulted in some good hair days and some not so good hair days!) and we scrutinised every ingredient.
Working closely with the Orangutan Alliance and their team of certifiers, we can now confidently and proudly say that we have developed a product that is the best it has ever been and is certified as 100% Palm Oil Free!
We have learnt a lot - about each other, our supply chain and ourselves. We have slowed down, have become more considered in everything we do and we are back kicking our plastic-free goals! What doesn’t break you only makes you stronger, right?
We're so excited to announce that our new 100% Palm Oil Free Bars are launching at the end of September and we can't wait for you to get your hands on them! They are, in my humble opinion, the best ever - for your hair, your body, and of course, the planet.
If you have any questions, comments or feedback please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org - I would love to hear from you.
Sally Tullet, CEO
What happened to the old palm oil stock?
The previous stock of the Bars that contained palm oil derivatives have been returned to our supplier and donated. We have replaced that stock with our new and improved Certified Palm Free Bars!
What did The Orangutan Alliance do with the donation?
The Orangutan Alliance used our $50,000 donation for the following:
- Supporting and strengthening the Orangutan Alliance International Palm Oil Free Certification Program and bringing awareness to this resource
- Part of the development of a manufacturing auditing system to help brands source Palm Oil Free products
- Educating consumers more broadly around the issue of Palm Oil
What was done with the 10% profits donated to charity?
Seed & Sprout are committed to giving back and supporting initiatives and projects that are close to our heart. Since we became aware that some of our products contained Palm Oil we have been further educating ourselves on what is a global issue.
Since February we have been donating 10% of our profits to International Animal Rescue (Indonesia). Karmelle and her team work tirelessly to rescue, rehabilitate and release Orangutans.
IAR Indonesia is also committed to protecting primates and their habitats with a holistic approach through multi-stakeholder collaboration.
What is the Palm Oil issue?
The Oil Palm is a highly productive crop, producing more yield on less land than any other vegetable oil. Palm Oil is used in around 50% of products that are consumed on a daily basis and the global demand for the Oil continues to grow.
The critical issue is that the Oil Palm thrives in the humidity of the tropics and produces incredibly high yield when grown within 10 degrees the equator. Therefore, due to their Geographical location, Indonesia and Malaysia account for around 87% of global Palm Oil production.
Indonesia is being deforested faster than any other country in the world, where large areas of forests and other ecosystems with high conservation values have been cleared to make room for Palm plantations, destroying biodiversity. Clearing rainforest to make way for plantations has taken a huge toll on local communities, destroyed natural habitats for endangered species (devastatingly, the Orangutan are considered a pest by many of the Oil Palm companies as they destroy young palm plants in the hope of finding food due to the elimination of their natural habitat.) and become a critical factor in climate change. Replacing natural forests with Palm Oil plantations greatly reduces the ability of vegetation to capture and store carbon dioxide.
There are over 200 names for palm oil derived ingredients in consumer products. We encourage you to seek out products that have a 3rd party certification and mark. Ours have the Orangutan Alliance logo and certification to give you the confidence to use our bars and to be assured that they contain absolutely no Palm Oil or Palm Oil derivatives.
About the re-formulation:
Our team has been working on the new formulation and after several rounds of samples, we couldn't be happier with the outcome. The new bars perform just as well, if not better, than the previous bars and we hope you love them as much as we do.
Will you bring out any new bars or just replacing the existing range?
Yes - we have some fun new Bars in development that will be launching later this year! We can’t wait to share them with you.
Can I try the new formulation?
We effed up. We’re sorry.
On Friday, February 5th we were made aware that some of our products may contain traces of Palm Oil.
Like many others, we believed that the ingredients used in our products were Palm Oil free and sourced from coconut oil - including derivatives. After consulting with independent experts, we have discovered that this is not always the case.
We had put our faith in trusted Australian specialists in our supply chain. However, this recent discovery has uncovered the difficult truth - that unknowingly, the coconut derived ingredients which we were led to believe to be palm free, do in fact contain Palm Oil. This has made us feel that we have not been fully transparent with you, our valued customers and community.
As a team, we are completely devastated that we weren't aware of that hard truth, and many tears have been shed. We feel angry, betrayed, frustrated and sad.
We are acutely aware that Palm Oil has been, and continues to be, a major driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests along the equator belt, and in turn, responsible for the pending extinction of the critically endangered species who rely on these forests for survival. We are fully committed to further educating ourselves on this problem, and to demanding more action to tackle this global issue.
We are also learning that Palm Oil derived ingredients are mixed with an uncertified supply and cannot be traced back to plantation, making it impossible to know where the Palm Oil is coming from and if it is contributing to deforestation.
Everyday we show up wanting and working to do the right thing - always, and in all ways. Through this turmoil, at no point did any one of us think that we shouldn’t share what we are going through. Doing the right thing is hard, but we welcome this difficult time with open arms as we walk together through this new reality. After all, we must do what is right, not what is easy.
When we launched our Bar range, it was all centered around our tagline of “Raise The Bar”. It’s with this exact sentiment that we’re holding ourselves accountable. We are raising the bar on ourselves, and also urging others to follow suit. We hope that by using our platform (and profits) as an agent of change, we can make significant strides towards a better future for all people & the planet.
What specific products this effects
- Shampoo Bar - Rose Geranium
- Shampoo Bar - Citrus & Mint
- Conditioner Bar
- Face Bar
- Exfoliate Bar
- Sunscreen - Un-tinted
- Sunscreen - Tinted
So, what now?
Since finding all of this out, here is what we have done & will continue to do:
We have made a $50,000 donation to the Orangutan Alliance, an independent, non-profit organisation and registered charity and palm oil free certification body that provides support for reforestation, orangutan rescue, and other meaningful projects that counteract the devastation caused by the Palm Oil Industry as well as promote development of alternative ingredients . We are also working with Orangutan Alliance Palm Oil Free Certification to get our reformulated products certified.
We will continue to sell the affected products so as to not make unnecessary waste.
Effective immediately, we will be donating 10% of all profits to International Animal Rescue Indonesia (IAR), who support land protection and restoration, and promote better land use planning practices.
We are working closely with Palm Oil Investigations to support us on our journey and to deepen our understanding of this issue. POI is a voluntary organisation working to bring awareness to the Palm Oil Industry and offers assistance to brands on checks as well as guidance and consulting on Palm Oil free sourcing and supply chains.
We are currently conducting a company wide health check on all our manufacturers and partners.
We believe that we are nothing without transparency, a core pillar within Seed & Sprout. We will continue to update our community as we learn more, as this is all happening in real time. We are committed to always being open and honest with you, to have the hard conversations, to leave no stone unturned, and to continue to educate ourselves and others whilst we ignite change on what is an issue of global concern.
It’s never too late to do the right thing.
Statement from Palm Oil Investigations (POI) regarding our recent discovery
"Unfortunately this issue which has occurred with Seed & Sprout is not uncommon and other brands need to take note and step up.
POI estimates that at least 80% of brands making palm free claims on their hair care and cleaning product ranges, are in fact using Palm Oil derived ingredients. Coconut derived does not necessarily mean Palm Oil free.
Brands should never place blind faith in what they are being told regarding ingredients used. Palm Oil free claims should never be placed on products, marketing material and communication with consumers until they have fully traced ingredients right back to the source, being the actual manufacturer of the ingredient (not the formulating chemist, ingredient distributor or product manufacturer). Manufacturers, formulators and ingredient distributors need to be held accountable for misleading information supplied to brands. Always obtain Palm Oil free guaranteed documentation in writing. We thank Seed & Sprout for their honesty and transparency".
To continue the conversation, please feel free to email us at: email@example.com
Have questions? See if we cover them here:
We feel your sadness, we feel the same way. We love our shampoo bars too. We are still in the process of figuring out what our next steps look like and who we partner with going forward.
Unfortunately, with our bars we don’t have a definitive percentage that we can supply at this point in time.
We now know that our sunscreens contain approximately 10% Palm Oil derivative, which we have the RSPO certification for. We also now know that Palm Oil derived ingredients are mixed with an uncertified supply and cannot be traced back to plantation, making it impossible to know where the Palm Oil is coming from and how much of it is contributing to deforestation.
Yes, we have checked these with suppliers and we are also having these independently audited.
It is Palm Oil that is certified according to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) which complies to a specific criteria. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) aims to transform markets to make sustainable palm oil.
More information here: https://rspo.org/about
We are learning that Palm Oil derived ingredients are mixed with an uncertified supply and cannot be traced back to plantation, making it impossible to know where the Palm Oil derivatives are coming from and if it is contributing to deforestation.
Many ingredients used in manufacturing are imported from overseas where the plants and flowers grow naturally. This issue isn’t specifically due to the ingredients being imported.
We would recommend using up any product until it's finished to avoid any waste. If you do not wish to use these products any more get in contact with us.
Palm Oil investigations has some great information: https://www.palmoilinvestigations.org/about-palm-oil.html
We suggest checking out these links for common names for palm oil derivatives: