Local retailer LUSH Cosmetics is encouraging shoppers to roll up their sleeves and get dirty by dipping their hands in green paint to help highlight the issue of rainforest destruction.
Increasing demand for palm oil is leading to the wholesale destruction of rainforests in Malaysia and Indonesia, so LUSH is launching a global campaign against palm oil with a new window with a palm tree, orangutans and the slogan, ‘Wash your hands of palm.’ Local people will be asked to help complete the window by adding their own green palm prints to make more leaves on the tree, and then to wash their hands with LUSH’s newly formulated (and first of its kind) soap made with a palm-free base. Everyone participating will also receive a free soap sample.
When: Wednesday, August 12th
12p.m. – 1p.m.
Where: Outside LUSH Cosmetics, 24 E. Colorado Blvd.
What: Staff members, customers and passersby ‘wash hands of palm’ with interactive window.
Why is LUSH in a lather over palm oil? Global demand for the oil, a main ingredient in processed foods as well as soap and cosmetics, is causing the clearing of ancient rainforests, forcing indigenous people off their land and pushing orangutans to the brink of extinction to make room for more palm oil plantations. With demand for palm oil increasing and the problem getting worse, LUSH decided that the only responsible thing to do was to reformulate its products.
LUSH worked for the past three years to develop a soap base that does not contain palm oil, and now all LUSH soaps are made with this palm-free base. The switch to a palm-free soap base has meant that LUSH has reduced the amount of palm oil they use by 133,000 pounds each year.
Small amounts of palm oil still exist in some LUSH products and our inventors are busy trying to find creative ways to remove the oil altogether. To launch the public awareness campaign over palm oil, LUSH is selling a limited edition soap called Jungle which is in the shape of a tree. 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of Jungle Soap go to the Rainforest Foundation, who works with tribes people to protect their forest homes from expanding palm oil plantations.
While the cosmetics industry uses approximately 6-7 percent of the global supply of palm oil, the biggest current usage is food, with one out of every ten items in the supermarket, from chips to breads to biscuits to margarine, containing it. LUSH is urging other retailers and manufacturers to cut their palm oil use and have teamed up with the Rainforest Action Network in an effort to get businesses to source their ingredients responsibly.
“We believe that until global levels of palm use are cut dramatically, there is little hope of a workable sustainable palm oil industry, and the future of the forests, animals and people of Indonesia and Malaysia is bleak,” said Brandi Halls, LUSH Communications Manager.
“Palm oil is the high octane fuel that’s literally burning down rainforests all over Southeast Asia,” said Leila Salazar-Lopez of Rainforest Action Network. “In phasing out palm oil from their products, LUSH is pioneering a new way for other companies to do the right thing for the rainforest, forest peoples and the global climate.”