Sustainable Palm Oil; The Business Case

The word sustainability is over used in many businesses today, however with the often thorny issue of palm oil it’s worth exploring for a number of good reasons.

As you are no doubt aware palm oil is an essential ingredient in modern soaps and indeed a multitude of other products too: A natural product that comes from the fruit of the Oil Palm Tree it is produced in tropical countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia and then shipped all over the world. The increasing demand for this raw material has led to it becoming a very important cash crop and source of income in these countries. This in turn has led to significant environmental issues. Put bluntly large swathes of natural rainforest were cleared to plant Oil Palms to meet the growing global demand for the product. This is a natural extension of modern economics, a perfect demonstration of supply and demand in action. The downside to this is that clearing rainforests is not without consequences. Communities were moved, important natural habitats for wildlife were destroyed with the emission of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

Wildlife in particular has been badly hit. The Orang-utan and the Sumatran Tiger are the best known and most visible victims but there are many other smaller less photogenic species equally endangered too.


Against this background the RSPO was formed. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil was set up in 2004 and has been transforming the industry ever since. It collaborates with the global supply chain to ensure that best practice and sustainability are promoted throughout. Stakeholders include oil palm growers, processors, traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, investors, governments and NGOs. Most tellingly of all the RSPO are also engaging with consumers, the people who ultimately fund the entire industry.

Soapworks’ unique background has created a culture in our business where we are very conscious of the effect we have on our local, national and international environments. As such we became the first soap manufacturer to supply soaps made from sustainably derived palm oil in 2007 and the first to gain RSPO Supply Chain Standard certification in 2011, something we remain very proud of today. We are completely committed to the goals of the RSPO and continually promote the use of certified sustainable palm oil in our products to our new and existing customers.

We’ve noticed a big increase in enquiries for sustainable palm oil soaps and discerning customers are becoming more aware of these issues, demanding authenticity of supply chain and sustainability when purchasing goods.

Palm oil is a great product. It’s stable, effective, natural and popular with consumers. It’s also vital for the communities that grow it and an important source of income for some of the world’s most deprived areas. It is also now easy to use sustainable and fully traceable palm oil, giving peace of mind to your consumers.

If you would like to know anything else about our RSPO certified soaps, the work of the RSPO or anything else about soap please feel free to contact Claire Caddis by email;