This afternoon a handful of RAN staff headed down to the Lush Cosmetics store in Union Square to support Lush’s decision to take a stand against rainforest destruction by removing palm oil from all their products.
Lush Cosmetics has spent the past few years looking into the environmental and social problems with palm oil, and is gravely concerned with the impacts that oil palm plantations are having on communities, animals, ecosystems and the climate. The global demand for palm oil is causing a staggering amount of deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia, resulting in massive greenhouse gas emissions. Indigenous and traditional people are being forced from their forest homes, orangutans slaughtered, and the recently logged land is being planted with oil palm trees.
Faced with these massive problems, the best solution for Lush was to remove palm oil from their products. In partnership with a top UK soap-base manufacturer, Lush has developed the world’s first commercially available palm-free base, has switched all of its soap production to this new palm-free base, and is now working hard to remove palm oil from all of its products worldwide.
Today marked the launch of Lush’s North American campaign, and 85 stores around the country (about half of all Lush stores in the U.S) voluntarily set up their storefront windows with an interactive display to engage and educate consumers about the problems with palm oil. The display included a new soap in the shape of a tree with proceeds going to Rainforest Foundation, and a ‘wash your hands of palm’ window where customers added their green hand prints to make the canopy of a forest and then washed their hands with the new palm-free soap.
Dressed in orangutan costumes which lured many a curious passerby, we worked with the Lush staff to gather signatures for our Cargill petition and pass out educational leaflets that direct people to the RAN website where they can get involved in the Rainforest Agribusiness Campaign and write to Cargill – the biggest palm oil importer into the US and one of the largest producers in the world. Meanwhile, our fantastic organizer in Chicago recruited a group of activists to support their local Lush store – keep your eyes peeled for upcoming photos from Chicago. Check out the great photos from today’s activity here!