Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Proctor & Gamble reply

I have received a response from Proctor & Gamble which contains all the usual generalisations about sustainable palm oil and how they buy it. Worryingly, they only say most of their palm oil suppliers are members of the RSPO so I guess if they get caught with some that isn't they can say "oh yes, just that bit isn't sustainable".

I'm no great believer that palm oil can be grown sustainably anyway all the time demand continues to rise so much - where is the new palm oil going to come from to fuel the proposed EU increase from 5% to 10% in biofuels sustainability criteria?

All it means is that responsible companies will buy the sustainable palm oil, leaving the rest for those with no scruples. It's not good enough to pat ourselves on the back and say ours is sustainable so we don't have to worry about it anymore. It's unacceptable that the rainforest is continuing to decline even though every single company that I write to claims to either already be buying sustainable palm oil or will be doing by 2015. Rainforest is still disappearing. We have to raise our game if it's going to stop.

Anyway, the response from P&G is very similar to that of Reckitt Benckiser - no individual answers about the products I buy. They give me a website address and invite me to investigate the list ingredients to establish whether the products contain palm oil. I will write a similar response to P&G and hope that in the interests of customer services, they will be prepared to give me a yes or no for the products that I buy.

L'Occitane haven't replied to my e-mail so I've had to snail mailed them as well. If they would only reply using e-mail, it would save paper - I shouldn't have to send letters using paper in this day and age - for goodness sake, L'Occitane - join the 21st Century! Paper use is another cause of rainforest decline.

Do I sound irritated? That's because I am :-(

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sainsbury's household products

As I reported here, I wrote to Sainbsury's asking them about the palm oil content of all the household products that I thought I could buy from them to replace any ones that are already (or subsequently become) suspect. Here are the products I asked them about:
  • Sainsbury’s Antibacterial Spray Cleaner
  • Sainsbury’s Washing Up Liquid Lemon
  • Sainsbury’s 2 in 1 Tablets Lavender and Jasmine (for clothes washing)
  • Sainsbury’s Tablet Bio (for clothes washing)
  • Sainsbury’s Tablets Non Bio (for clothes washing)
  • Sainsbury’s Bathroom Cleaner Trigger Spray
  • Sainsbury’s Oven Cleaner
I received a response in the post from Sainsbury's which happily informs me that none of these items contain palm oil or its derivatives.

I have looked again at the Reckitt Benckiser reply, basically, they have just given me a link to a site which lists the products they sell in the UK and you can find a list of ingredients for each one by drilling down. But it's up to me to check whether the ingredients are palm oil or derivatives.

As people who have been reading this blog for a while will realise, manufacturers can be very coy about calling palm oil "palm oil" and use any number of different euphemisms (see the extremely long list to the left!) Plus many of the items are derived from oil, but doesn't have to necessarily be palm oil. So if I find any of the ingredients listed on the website correspond with the list of euphemisms, then I will have to get back to Reckitt Benckiser to find out if those derivatives are from palm oil or some other oil like (for example) coconut oil. Seems a lot of work for me to do (there are eight products on my Reckitt Benckiser list as as Laura found out, it takes ages just to check one single product) Why do these companies have Customer Services departments if they don't provide any kind of service other than a purely perfunctory one?

Sainbsury's and Tesco and many other suppliers are happy to do the checking of their own brand products for their customers and say yes or no, I think if Reckitt Benckiser want me to continue to use their products, they need to do the work and tell me if the products I'm interested in are palm oil free. I have written to them to that effect to give them a final chance to retain my custom on the products that I buy from them:
  • Windowlene original
  • Brasso
  • Cillit Bang Power Cleaner Grime & Lime
  • Dettol Anti-bacterial surface cleaner
  • Dettol Anti-bacterial surface cleaner
  • Finish Powerball
  • Vanish Pre-Wash Stain Stick
  • Vanish Stain Remover Pre-Wash
Some of these products, I am happy to just do without if have to. If I don't get a positive response from Reckitt Benckiser, I'm going to have to do some research on alternative brands of dishwasher tablets because Sainsbury's don't have an own brand on those.

Still haven't heard from Homecare Products about Hob Brite, I've e-mailed them twice now 22 November and 14 February with no reply - time to resort to snail mail!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Anti dandruff shampoo

My husband has had to go back to using Head & Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo as the Lush anti-dandruff shampoo block and the Elemis shampoo that I use aren't keeping on top of his dry scalp (if you know what I mean!) I've written to Proctor & Gamble who make Head & Shoulders but from the list of ingredients (which contain the usual suspects), I'm pretty certain it isn't palm oil free. Plus an e-mail correspondent has reminded me that there are more reasons than Palm oil to buoycot P&G due to their animal testing.

So I'm on the lookout for anti-dandruff shampoo that works. I remember finding a company in Australia that did one but none of their suppliers have on-line ordering and arranging an order wasn't straightforward. It is a long way to go for shampoo! Anyway, I remembered reading recently one of the comments on http://nopalmoil.wordpress.com which said that L'Occitane's ranges (except for those containing shea butter) are palm oil free so I've written to L'Occitane using their on-line form asking them to confirm if this is the case for the following of their products that I'm interested in:
  • Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Sensitive Scalp
  • Verbena Cleansing Hand Wash
  • Lavender Foaming Bath
There's a L'Occitane on Rose Crescent in Cambridge (just round the corner from my stall on the Craft Market) so it would be very convenient for me to buy there. Their products are quite pricey but I am willing to pay more for effective products that are palm oil free.

Sainsbury's letter

I've written a letter today to Sainsbury's. Firstly letting them know that I have switched my on-line purchasing to them instead of Tesco and congratulating them on their superior WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard rating. Secondly, I've listed several household cleaning products which I think I may want to use from their own label brand and asked if any contain palm oil or palm oil derivities.

Even Tesco were prepared to research each own brand product I asked about and let me know yes or no. With Sainsbury's much better labelling policies, I am hopeful they will be willing to let me know.

Any response will be reported here.