Going palm oil free
Is it possible to completely avoid palm oil?

About this blog

I am an ordinary guy with an ordinary job unrelated to any of this? So why palm oil? Why so interested, and why blog about it?

In 2000 I spent two weeks in Borneo with the Orangutan Foundation UK, to see the work being done looking after rehabilitating orangutans and to witness them in their natural environment. It was an experience never to be forgotten and one I was very privileged to be part of. At that time there were many factors threatening their habitat, including illegal logging for timber and paper, clearance of land for gold mining, capturing of orangutans for pets, and deliberate creation of fires across the whole region.

All these were a very serious threat to the future of the orangutan. All these still are a serious threat.

Over and above all these threats, and more recently than my visit in 2000, has been the clearance of orangutan habitat for palm oil plantations. Orangutans are displaced from their habitat and often killed – mothers killed to be cleared from viable land and infants orphaned, sometimes sold on as pets.

Palm oil is used all round the world. The future, probably, is sustainable palm oil. If palm oil is guaranteed and confirmed sustainable, it will be sourced only from existing plantations and should have no effect on orangutans’ habitat. But I want to look into whether such a thing really exists on this blog. I also want to find out just how easy it is to avoid palm oil altogether, given the growing ubiquity of the ingredient in so many groceries and cosmetics in the western world.

It’s a cliché (I probably use them a lot even though I try not to, if so I apologise) but the next generation may never get the chance I had to witness orangutans anywhere apart from in zoos and rehab centres. Awareness of the issue of palm oil is key to ensure they have any chance whatsoever to prove my biggest fears wrong.

Thanks for reading! Please suggest, interact and comment as much as you want!


24 Responses to “About this blog”

  1. Hi There.
    I run the above website, and after spending time in Borneo i am currently in the process of removing every item that contains palm oil from sale.
    It is great to read your blogs and keep up the good work.
    We are going to promote our beliefs but dont want to inflict our views on our customers, any ideas how?

  2. Hi Neil:

    Can you get in touch with me at my e-mail address (quixote@a-new-leaf.com). I want to discuss how to use the launch of my book about orangutans in February 2012 as a way to spread information in the media about being an ethical consumer by avoiding palm oil that is destroying the forests of orangutans and rewarding the companies that are being responsible.

    Shawn Thompson

  3. Hi…
    After reading and watching videos showing the devastation of Rain Forests and displacement of Orangutans (not to mention other exotic creatures) I fail to understand why there is not more public outcry. And then I look around and see retailers unaware, or not caring what products they sell. Consumers oblivious of the domino effect of the goods they are purchasing and how unwittingly they are supporting the destruction of our Rain Forests and ultimately the forever change and demise of our World thru Climate Change and Global Warming.
    Media, consumers, retailers,manufacturers, and corporations are feeding off ignorance and lack of knowledge of Palm Oil to the general public. Education, exposure and informative facts need to made more readily avaliable. How can we do this? By Blogs such as this, by talking , sharing and emailing whomever we can to bring to the forefront the importance of this issue. Your dedication and commitment is great. Maybe now is a good time to address the Food and Drug Administration? We now know that Palm Oil is 50% fat and adds no nutritional value. Maybe if consumers were aware of it from a health stand point, they may sit up and take notice.
    What do you think Neil? Time to start lobbying the different levels of govenment? Or is that just a pipe dream of mine 🙂
    Let me know, and I will do what I can at my end of town…

    • I am agreeing with you so much. I can’t imagine that that children wouldn’t be so shocked to find out the candy bars they are shoving down contain oils in them that are made from from taering down the rain forest and displacing homes for the orangutans and so much other wildlife. We can all change our diets and modify our likes and eating habits, skin products we use… I had been using Tom’s toothpaste until I read a derivative of palm oil is in it.
      Why isn’t the public informed of what is happening on the nightly news or or newspaper headlines. We no longer are eating out and foods without palm oil are hard to find. Thank you. What to do?

  4. Found your blog via twitter (hi! I am allfivehorizons!) and I ust wanted to wish you luck.

  5. Hey Neil – well done on your efforts. Best of luck! I have added your blog to my site’s “Keeping an eye on …” list.

    Red Alert Orangutan Preservation Campaign

  6. Hi,

    Thanks for uploading this blog onto twitter. During the last few years I’ve found myself turing into an eco-freako, caring about the planet and it’s species. and recycling everything that is possibly recyclable from household waste. Once again thanks! It’s just what I’ve been looking for!


  7. P.S. Just left wondering what’s next for me to boycott!


  8. I’ve just started reading your blog and wanted to express my delight in what you are doing. I have been as close to palm oil free as I can get for nearly two years. The only place I consume it now is eating out. I’m vegan also which makes things extra challenging as I have already cut out a ton of food and am not left with a great deal after cutting out palm oil too!!

  9. Great blog Neil. Surfed on over here following a search for green and blacks and palm oil. Hi from Australia and thanks for your work.

  10. Hi!
    What you are doing is just fantastic! I thought i knew about this issue but never imagined just how many products i am using which probably contain palm oil. I am determined to work really hard like you to change the food and household products i buy, but i believe the answer ultimately has to be a definate product labelling scheme. Eg: I may buy a product labelled as ‘not tested on animals’ but only to find it contains P.Oil?? Its hopeless? I bet if you did a poll outside the supermarket, that a huge % of people would not have a clue that they were contributing to this outrage. Please keep us updated!

  11. Just want to say thanks for this blog and saying everything I’ve also come across in being palm oil free. People/friends tell me its a lost cause nothing will be done companies will continue to use it in products and think I’m being dramatic about the impact its having, which is dishearting since I spend free time writing emails to companies. Its a challange alright but hopefully one that will pay off before its too late for orangutans and the environment. Please keep us updated,thanks for your work. Cheers Suzanne (australia)

  12. Hello Neil,
    Do you know what the health benefits, or rather lack there of, of palm oil are? Perhaps you have already blogged about this and I missed it. I happened upon your site today while searching for affordable, healthy, palm oil free peanut butter online. If you combined your efforts to educate the public about orangutans as well as the negative health benefits of palm oil then you may be able to gain even more support for your cause. Just a thought. I enjoyed reading your blog. Any info. you may have on palm oil free peanut butter and other foods would be appreciated. Good luck and Thanks!

  13. How is it possible to replace palm-oil – can anybody tell me what is the best alternative to replace palm-oil ? I am seriously looking for a re-replasment – who can help me ?

  14. Hi Neil,
    I felt that this new infographic published by the Union of Concerned Scientists yesterday may be of interest to you. Below is a link to where you can download the infographic should you want to include it on your blog. Please let me know if you have questions. Thanks.

  15. I am currently putting together some info on palm oil free shopping and general info on the issue. Nearly finished it so if anyone wants this please let me know by email, or, Neil would you like it for your blog? Cally (colourworx@aol.com)

  16. Oh also Meridian make palm oil free peanut butter, available amongst other places on Ethical Superstore i think.

  17. Hi Kanoko
    I like the infographic, thanks. Can i put this on facebook?

  18. Veganaise – Grapeseed oil “mayonaise” made by Earth Island, CA. We have used it for a year now and like it. I do not use products with palm oil and try not to use soybean oil (even more prevalent). It takes thoughtfulness and information to stop using palm oil becaus eit is in so many things I used to like. I eat no baked goods from stores unless I know they are vegan or made with coconut or good oils or none. We use Cornhuskerslotion (Johnson & Johnson) and believe this not to include derivatives of plam oil. Alsovitamin E oil, hemp seed oil, shea butter (Alaffia products) for our skin. I struggle to find make up base, mascara, eyebrow pencil without palm oil products so I don’t use the make up anymore. I know theye are out there I just have to keep searching. I pray this palm industry comes to an end before so much killing and destruction wipes out everything. It is insanity to create desolation where the rainforest thrives!
    Roxanne and David Engle

  19. We have tried to be palm oil free for the past 3yrs now and Live in France where it is a hell of a lot easier then our holiday to the UK where it is proving extremely difficult but we are still keeping it up,so far we have found a fish and chip place in Worthing that only uses rapeseed oil,weight watchers Danish bread and wraps,morrisons does some lovely sticky ginger cakes.
    We have been amazed by how ignorant and willing people are in the UK to consume palm oil not only the effects to rainforest deforestation but also their own health,did you know palm oil is proven to have the effect to make you want to eat more!!!! Shocking…..Keep up what you are doing X

  20. Hello, I am trying to get rid of all the palm oil in my diet. I started few months ago when I realised what was really happening with deforestation and the fate of orangutans. Since I work research in Primates Evolution, and since I have a background of study in Ecology, I am very concerned with this kind of issues.

    After these few palm-oil free months, I realise that this is not going as expected. Palm oil is hidden under differnt names and sometimes I really believe to buy palm-oil free stuff and then it turns out that I was wrong.

    Does anybody have a list of palm-oil free products in UK?

    Many thanks

    • Hi
      I have no idea why i got an update in my email box but i wrote a 13 page article on palm oil, explaining the issue itself and listing over 50 websites where you can buy palm oil free stiff in the UK. If you would like a copy just drop me a line by email at colourworx@aol.com

  21. Hi, was just wondering if you were going to start using this blog again?

    I have found it helpful in my aim to becoming palm-oil free.

    Kind regards,


    • Hi
      I have no idea why i got an update in my email box but i wrote a 13 page article on palm oil, explaining the issue itself and listing over 50 websites where you can buy palm oil free stiff in the UK. If you would like a copy just drop me a line by email at colourworx@aol.com

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