Why You Should Reconsider Palm Oil Beauty Products

Why You Should Reconsider Palm Oil Beauty Products

 

Palm oil plantations are one of Indonesia’s and Malaysia’s economic engines. This product becomes an essential ingredient in many health and beauty products. 

The only problem with this business opportunity is that palm oil plantations are often linked to physical and mental abuse. When you speak with the workers at these facilities, you can often learn of tales that include rape and murder. 

Many of today’s top health and beauty companies have direct links to these plantations. According to reporting from the Associated Press, the Toronto Star, and many others, palm oil from these areas is found in everything from potato chips to make up supplies. It ends up in the supply chain of many international brands. Names like Unilever, Avon, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and L’Oréal all have connections to these abuses. 

Almost Every Plantation Has Labor-Related Abuses

Although men don’t escape all of the abuse is on palm oil plantations, female workers have it far worse than men when trying to earn a living.

Interviews with over three dozen girls and women from at least 12 companies operating in Malaysia and Indonesia found that bosses often threatened retaliation, physical harm, and worse if they told others about what happens at the plantations. 

The Malaysian government adamantly denies the reporting released in 2020 and in previous years, saying that they have received no reports about sexual abuse happening at these businesses. Indonesia at least acknowledges that these abuses are happening and that it is a growing problem when victims are afraid to speak out about them. 

Even so, The Associated Press could corroborate several of the stories from their recent interviews by reviewing legal documents, union complaints, police reports, and media accounts.

How is it that the governments don’t know what is going on right underneath their noses with one of their best economic exports?

Although it is an educated assumption, the natural conclusion is that officials know about what is happening on palm oil plantations and choosing to ignore the reports.

New Workers Are Needed Constantly for Palm Oil

Because palm oil is a cheap commodity that works well in virtually every industry, the high demand levels create worker shortages in almost every plantation. 

That means child labor is prevalent within this industry. The Associated Press spoke with a 16-year-old victim of sexual abuse during their report about palm oil plantations. They discovered that she’d already been working in the fields for ten years to help her family make their financial ends meet.

When workers file reports with police officers, the cases are often dropped because of a supposed lack of evidence.

It can be so severe at some plantations that teen girls get put into the global sex trafficking trade to expand profits. 

The best way to stop these practices is to avoid buying products that contain palm oil. Check the ingredient list carefully, put back the supplies that include it, and look for a more ethical alternative. 

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