During 2017 we’ve continued to hold brands to account over their palm-oil usage. Some have changed, some have not, so it’s super important for consumers to keep the pressure on – brands will only change when customers are unhappy.
Coles supermarkets is still refusing to shift to Audited RSPO compliant certified palm oil. Woolworths, however, is slowly coming around. We hope to have good news on Woolworths soon.
Aldi continues to be the front runner with most of its products having gone through the official RSPO auditing process. We applaud Aldi for its transparency on pack, however, we’ve recently found some of its packaging making the wrong claims for the wrong supply chain, but believe this will be corrected promptly.
We’ve worked tirelessly to find palm-oil-free ingredients for the personal care industry – not an easy task by any means, but we’ve had some success. During this process we’ve formed some great relationships with ingredient manufacturers and have managed to help many brands completely remove palm oil from their products.
We’ve also found a manufacturer that’s about to release canola betaine, palm-oil-free surfactant, manufactured from Australian-grown, non-GMO canola. This is the first of its kind and is looking to be a suitable replacement for ingredients such as Cocamidopropyl betaine or coco betaine. More news to come on this in 2018.
Back in April, I made my way to Borneo with Orangutan Odysseys and co-hosted a tour with Leif Cocks (founder and president of the Orangutan Project). Cruising down the Sekonyer river on the Klotok was one of the most tranquil experiences I have ever had in my life. All of us were totally absorbed by the beauty that surrounded us. Camera shutters were clicking at amazing speed as we spotted wildlife living happily amid the forests. The sound of the Gibbons in the mornings and the unmistakable sound of the male orangutan long call, were enchanting.
Watching orangutans in the forest was an amazing experience. Tree branches would crack and shake in the distance and when the cracking sound increased, the forest person would appear high up in the trees.
Flying over the endless sea of palm plantations on our way to Ketapang was eye opening for those who travelled with us. The clincher was visiting the IAR rescue centre where over 100 orangutans reside. It was a life-changing experience for all who came.
We all formed fabulous friendships – it was such a great bunch of people who came along. Thank you to Garry Sundin and Ozzy for being the glue that kept us all together and a special mention to my co-host Leif Cocks who is such an inspiration.
POI has five volunteers, three of which work in full time employment elsewhere. Our team is tiny and our work load is massive. We have three in Australia, one in the UK and another in Canada. The things we see happening to wildlife is often heartbreaking, a lot of which we don’t post to the page due to the distressing nature. These incidents are just as hard on our volunteers as it is our followers. Compassion fatigue hits us too and sometimes we need time out to recharge our batteries and deal with the awful images that have impacted our thoughts. A massive shout out to Melissa who has been volunteering with us for almost four years – you are a gem.
For me, personally, I have had a year of highs and lows. A few months back, my world came crashing down as I learned my adored father, who is only 20 years older than me, was diagnosed with extensive, terminal, stage four cancer. With a massive work load on my plate I struggled to juggle POI, my exhausted volunteers and time with my family.
Many of you may have noticed our page slowed down with posts, we also disabled the ‘posts by others’ feature and merged the UK and US pages with our main page to reduce the work load. Now you know the reason why.
A month ago I removed all our current stock from our webstore and replaced everything with new items. I’m happy to say the new stock has been extremely popular and is selling out not long after being added. Many items are one of a kind or extremely limited stock. We have some great things on the way to our store so keep your eye out.
We recently entered into contract with International Animal Rescue Indonesia and RAW Wildlife Encounters to offer the IAR volunteer program for 2018. It’s available to only 8 people per group and offers the opportunity to participate in a life-changing program where you contribute to one of the most outstanding orangutan projects in Indonesia, with International Animal Rescue Indonesia (YIARI).
AUD $1,550 for 11 days
AUD $2,215 for 22 days
Cost includes basic accommodation, lunch and dinner. You have the choice of volunteering for 11 or 22 days and starts the 9th & 20th of each month. Check out the fabulous video showing what it's like to volunteer at IAR. For more information please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
POI is nearing the five year mark as totally voluntary and unfunded and we’ve struggled to get through the past 12 months. This coming year we’re working smarter not harder, and gearing up for what is going to be a great 2018.
Early in the New Year we will launch The POINT environmental & conservation digital press publication. The POINT stands for POI news & trends, however, we will expand beyond the palm-oil issue to include other environmental and conservation issues around the globe, as well as eco tourism. We welcome ex-Leader editor Erica Fosbender as our chief editor as well as many writers, journalists and photographers from around the globe. We’ve had an overwhelming amount of applications, many of which we are still processing and yet to interview.
In 2018 POI will be collaborating with Orangutan Alliance palm oil free certification and the brands that adopt the certification. We’ll also be an active participant in their campaigns for mandatory labelling.
We are also developing a new platform for consumers and have engaged our tech team in Texas for the build. This is a super exciting project for us, but I can’t disclose too much at this point. Keep your eye out mid 2018 for what is going to be a fabulous platform.
POI was a late comer to Instagram and has only been constantly active this past year, but we’re loving it. Give us a follow @palmoilinvestigations
We are now winding down for Christmas, our last day will be Wednesday December 20 and we’ll return Monday January 15. Only one volunteer will be working during this period, so until we return we are disabling messages on our page and will enable when we return. We’ll be firing up our first day back with a fabulous giveaway from our friends at The Smoothie Bombs and Urthly Organics. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Be kind to each other and take care on the roads if travelling.
Finally. Many of you may have noticed the Nourished Life posts on our page during the past two months. POI entered into a short-term, promotional contract agreement with the company. Nourished Life is an eco-friendly shopping site, which we owe a huge thank you to. Without this agreement we wouldn’t have been able to continue into 2018 and it would’ve been the end of the road for us.
So please take a few seconds to become a Nourished Life member. It’s free to join and there are a mountain of perks. They’ve helped us greatly so please show your appreciation in return.
NOURISHED LIFE FREE CLUB MEMBERSHIP LINK
Thank you all and will see you in 2018.