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Is ‘The Body Shop’ truly cruelty free when its products contain palm oil?

In our blog post ‘IS THE BODY SHOP CRUELTY FREE’ we raved about the great work that The Body Shop is doing to make a stand against animal testing. But is it’s use of palm oil in many of its products at odds with this stance?

It’s well known that irresponsible palm oil production is a major cause of harm to many species in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, we’ve been vocal regarding the ineffectiveness of the RSPO standard, which The Body Shop has implemented to ensure the ‘sustainability’ of its palm oil, in a previous post.

However, the palm oil issue is complex, so it would be wrong to simply assume that The Body Shop’s use of RSPO certified palm oil conflicts with the cruelty free badge we have awarded it without scrutinizing its CSR policy. So that’s what we did, and we were impressed by what we found!

On one hand, The Body Shop sources all its palm oil from RSPO certified producers. The ethical dilemma with this is that, many producers flout RSPO’s rules through illegal logging and human rights abuses etc. Meaning that RSPO certification cannot guarantee that palm oil is ‘sustainable’.

On the other hand, The Body Shop has gone to great lengths to ensure its palm oil has not contributed to environmental and social harm. It monitors its supply chain through independent auditing to ensure none of the palm oil produced for its products has negatively impacted wildlife.

Perhaps more importantly, it holds a seat on the Executive Board of the RSPO. In this position it has been able to use its influence to progressively strengthen the RSPO standard through collaboration between grassroots groups, environmental and social NGOs and companies involved in the palm oil sector.

The Body Shop acknowledges that much still needs to be done. However, we believe that due to its efforts to affect change from within RSPO, it cannot be argued that it’s use of palm oil is at odds with our cruelty free badge.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, please tell us what you think.

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