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Rainforest Foundation Takes On Skincare Companies With New Ranking

UK natural skincare brand Pure Nuff Stuff was one of only four companies to receive a perfect score in RFUK's Appetite for Destruction? ranking, illustrating that quality skincare can be achieved without the use of palm oil. | Image credit: Pure Nuff Stuff

Honesty skin care, REN face and body care products, Pure Nuff Stuff skincare products and Little Satsuma face and body moisturiser all received perfect scores in the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK)'s latest investigation into the sustainability of palm oil content in health and beauty products.

In partnership with Ethical Consumer magazine, RFUK's Appetite for Destruction? consumer guide was created in response to the increasing threat that unsustainable palm oil is posing to the world’s rainforests, and consequently, to the people that rely almost entirely on these forests for their livelihoods.

Over 25 of the UK's biggest skincare companies were surveyed about their use of palm oil or its derivatives, a key ingredient in cosmetics.

The list scored products on a scale from one to 20, with the higher being the better score. Companies that do not use palm oil or their derivatives score a perfect 20, while those that use it but make no substantial statements and are not members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil score zero. The ranking also uses a “Traffic Light System” to advise which products are the best to buy, with Green being the best, Yellow adequate and Red unsustainable.

Some of the biggest names in skincare scored poorly on the suvery, including Clarins, Estée Lauder and Superdrug, as well as ‘ethical’ brands Jason and Avalon.

“Today we call on skincare product companies to face up to their environmental responsibilities, reduce their use of palm oil, and help ensure the long-term survival of Africa’s rainforest, its people and unique wildlife,” said Simon Counsell, Executive Director of RFUK.

This past Easter, RFUK also partnered with Ethical Consumer on a similar ranking system to score more than 70 UK chocolate brands to encourage companies to use more sustainably sourced palm oil.

The health and beauty industry has received a lot of pressure recently to be more mindful of the impacts of its ingredients. Last month, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble both committed to removing microbeads from their beauty products after large amounts of the beads were found polluting the Great Lakes; and last week, the Center for Environmental Health filed suit in California against four companies and sent legal notices to more than 100 others that sell products containing cocamide DEA, after independent testing found the cancer-causing chemical in 98 shampoos, soaps and other personal care products sold by major national retailers.


Mike Hower is Marketing Communications Manager at Carbon Lighthouse. With a background on both sides of the communications podium — as a journalist and strategic communicator — he is committed to helping organizations address climate change through sustainability innovation. Previously,… [Read more about Mike Hower]


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