8 household products that contain unsustainable palm oil

Purchasing products without palm oil in them is a difficult task, so here’s a list of eight products in UK supermarkets that contain non-sustainable palm oil.

The World Wildlife Federation classes palm oil under a number of different names that companies can use to hide the ingredient.

These names include: Palmitate, Palmolein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hyrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol.

1. Batchelors Super Noodles

This quick, cheap and easy lunch option from Premier Foods is sold up and down the country.

However Super Noodles contains unsustainably-sourced palm oil, according to the WWF.

2. Dove Beauty Cream Bar

This silky feeling ‘beauty bar’ produced by Dove and owned by Unilever, contains sodium palm kernelate, an ingredient deriving from palm oil, that is used to cleanse the skin and acts as an emulsifier.

Sodium palm kernelate is produced by extracting the palm kernel oil from the Elaeis guineensis tree and then mixed with sodium hydroxide – also known as lye, which is a strong alkali.

3. Simple Moisturising Face Wash

Simple’s face wash contains sodium laureth sulfate, also known as SLS, which is a derivative of coconut and/or palm kernel oil.

The palm oil used is a strong source of lauric acid and used for its moisturising and acne-fighting properties.

4. Ariel Washing Liquid

Refined palm oil is used in Procter & Gamble’s Ariel Washing Liquid, as it is commonly used to cleanse and remove dirt.

This product contains MEA palm kernelate and palm kernel fatty acid.

5. Kit Kat

Once thought of as a sweet treat, the Kit Kat by Nestle contains palm oil from unsustainable sources, contributing towards deforestation in South East Asian countries like Indonesia.

Nestle buys a large volume of palm oil which it claimed to be sustainable, however in mid-2018 Nestle was suspended by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil for contributing towards deforestation. The company can no longer claim that its products contain sustainable palm oil.

6. Pop Tarts

Yet another sweet treat on our list is the Pop Tart by Kelloggs.

The Kelloggs Company promised to the RSPO (Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil) to purchase only physical CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner, otherwise known as RSPO certified palm oil) by 2020.

7. Carex Handwash

Carex handwash is a product of PZ Cussons and contains sodium lauryl sulphate, aforementioned as a derivative of palm oil, used for cleansing skin.

PZ Cussons alongside other major companies, like Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo, have been under pressure from Greenpeace to change the ingredient in their product.

8. McVities Digestive Biscuits

United Biscuits is the manufacturer of McVities Digestive Biscuits, the traditionally British dunkable-biscuit.

However, this afternoon delight contains palm oil, although United Biscuits is a member of the RSPO they only have a partial commitment to buying CSPO.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

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Brittany Tijou-Smith

Brittany is a third year Multimedia Journalism student, her work has been featured on KentLive and KentOnline. Her filming work also won ‘Documentary of the Year 2018’ at Canterbury Christ Church University.

3 thoughts on “8 household products that contain unsustainable palm oil

  • 22/03/2019 at 11:02 pm

    I know you did flag up some of the worst offenders for their rain forest destruction, but it seems a bit unfair that Kellogs get a positive write up for their promise to go RSPO friendly by 2020 when Cussons have been members of RSPO since 2010 and working with The Forest Trust since 2014 to get their entire supply chain trackable and “No Deforestation/No Peat/No Exploitation” accredited (which goes a lot further than RSPO) and already have 100% traceability to refinery and 86% traceable back to the mill (through Greenpeace) and are committed to full NDPE accreditation this year. https://www.pzcussons.com/en_int/downloads/CSR%20policies/
    Personally, much as I would love to entirely switch to Caurnie handmade soaps (especially when I check they don’t use palm derived Stearates as Lush do), but as I’m on a very low income, the Cussons products are the best I’ve found for cheap but pretty ethically sound.

  • 01/05/2020 at 10:28 am

    oh god! I have so many of these and never knew! ditching these brands straight away!

  • 01/07/2020 at 9:51 am

    i’m not sure about Batchelors supernoodles – they are members of RSPO and they say they use sustainable palm oil. so you may want to check this out.

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