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Many of the products we buy everyday are indirectly funding deforestation around the globe. And I’m not just talking about paper goods. Actually, the majority of products we buy come with hidden costs to the environment, but some are causing irreparable damage literally across the world. Consumer goods made with commodity crops like soy, palm oil, and sugar cane have been directly linked to the deforestation of the world’s tropical rainforests.
Soy, palm oil, and sugar are used in pretty much every consumer good you can imagine, from snacks to shampoo and make-up. As you can imagine, there is a HUGE demand for these crops which means high pay-offs for farmers who grow them. The result of the high profits for these crops is deforestation. Palm oil and sugar cane grow best in warm, humid climates which incidentally are the climate zones that house the world’s rainforests. Farmers who grow these crops for big corporations clear thick forest areas to make way for crop plantations; the area of land cleared in Indonesia for palm plantations is the size of Maine.
In response to this massive deforestation epidemic, some of the world’s leading consumer good corporations have committed to sourcing 100 percent sustainable palm oil. Some have adopted initiatives for sustainable soy and sugar cane as well, but the damage caused by palm oil is by far the most environmentally devastating crop.
While some awesome steps are being made to transform these damaging industries, some brands have yet to make any changes in their supply chain. To make sure the products you’re buying aren’t funding deforestation, check out the list below for brands to avoid.
1. Kraft Foods
As of yet, Kraft has made no commitment in place to ensure the sustainability of their supply chain. Palm oil, soy, and sugar can be found in pretty much every product they produce.
The Clorox company manufactures brands including Burt’s Bees. As of yet, the company has zero commitment to sustainably sourced palm oil.
3. Estée Lauder Products
4. Jason Shampoo & Conditioner
Jason manufactures organic shampoos and conditioners, but receives an ethical score of -1 for its use of unsustainable palm.
5. Ferrero Chocolate
Including brands like Kinder Bueno, the Ferrero company receives an ethical score of 1 out of 10 for unsustainable palm oil from the Rainforest Foundation U.K.
Clarins manufactures both skin care and sun products using palm oil, but does not use sustainably sourced palm.
Another make-up brand you should probably be avoiding anyway, Rimmel does not use sustainable palm oil in their products.
8. Veet Hair Removal Cream
A product of Reckitt Benckiser, Veet receives an ethical score of 4 out of 20.
Starbucks does not use sustainably sourced palm oil in their products.
Image source: Ali T / Flickr