For the Love of Orangutans

Posted by Lauren Dodge on

In contribution to Earth Day, I am telling a story that you have heard fragments of, but maybe not all and we are doubling the amount we donate from every jar of Everlasting Cream sold from April 20 - through May 1st and offering a LIMITED RELEASE version Everlasting Orang-Ylangall the original ingredients + a blend of uplifting sweet orange & ylang ylang essential oils to benefit circulation, skin strengthening and softening.

orangutan foundation donation

If you have had a conversation with me regarding Palm Oil, you know I have had a certain passion and have advocated against the use of palm products for a number of years.

It all started in 2011. This was the year I learned to make cold process soap, the year we started FTTR and the year I discovered how little I knew about ingredients - despite the years of study I felt I had already done!

After taking my first cold process soap class, I purchased bulk ingredients to begin producing more right away. I WAS SO EXCITED! Palm oil was an easy choice at the time. I had a local soap maker that would sell it to me in bulk, plus it was CHEAP so for a new maker with dreams of starting a business making soaps- I was all in for the palm oil.

After weeks of curing my first batches of various soaps, (more than 60 pounds), I was ready to start sharing my creations. People I knew were responding with kindness and actually wanted to pay me for my soap! I quickly started coming up with names for each one. After 'cleverly' naming a bar containing sweet orange and ylang ylang oils, Orang-ylang, (a silly play on words after my favorite primate), I stumbled upon several internet discussions about the use of palm oil and how it not only is causing massive harm to forests in countries where orangutans live, but many of the practices used by the farmers/farms were causing actual harm to the creatures that live in these forested areas such as orangutans. Attacks resulting in injured or dead parents, and orphaned younglings are not uncommon on or around these palm plantations. 

I struggled with feelings of sadness, shock, anger and disgust. It is an unforgivable horrid thing. I felt beyond upset with myself for not understanding more, researching more, thinking about the big picture of my footprint more. I felt like a child naming something without further thought beyond the fact that I liked the sound of my silly soap name, and not to mention....I LOVE ORANGUTANS.

It was a very sad eye-opening lesson. A lesson I hoped not to repeat. Sadly, years later....I would have to re-learn the lesson of understanding my ingredients with yet another beloved FTTR creation, our best selling Everlasting face cream. 

After more than two years to perfect it, we launched our first batch Everlasting face cream. Frustratingly, just before the pandemic, we discovered that the emulsifying wax we had been using, (for years at this point) to create this luxurious cream was being sold "in disguise" as : Cetearyl Alcohol and Polysorbate 60. We would be learning that hard lesson again, about how to decipher ingredients-Cetearyl Alcohol and Polysorbate 60 was code for a compound extracted from corn & PALM OIL. Again, those same feelings of anger welling inside me... how could I do this, yet again. I cried and I sobbed. Yeah, I was a mess. What would I do? Pull the product? Stop production? In the end, I determined re-formulation would have to suffice. It took another 2 years to perfect with a new emulsion wax that is made from olives, but it was worth it. And again, our beloved Everlasting cream can share skin balancing and GIVE BACK.

We know these gentle creatures deserve much better from the world, to further support awareness, in 2022 we began dedicating a percentage of all profits from our best selling EVERLASTING CREAM to the Orangutan Foundation International beginning in 2022 with the OFI REFORESTATION PROJECT

A nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of wild orangutans and their rainforest habitat. OFI also supports research on orangutans and forests, education initiatives, both local and international, and brings awareness concerning orangutans wherever it can.

At FTTR we are dedicated to learning all we can to ensure we are not contributing to the deforestation and displacement of creatures. While I have always been dedicated to continuing my education on everything skincare & natural formulations, vetting an ingredient will undoubtably be an ongoing lesson throughout the history of our business, as well as my life. 

You may see the words, "sustainable" when you purchase a palm oil product, but unfortunately there is a great deal of monitoring that goes along with protecting the wildlife and surrounding forests too.

As I continue to educate myself on the farming of palm oil, "sustainable" or not, we have chosen very intentionally NOT to support the use of it at all for our business & personal lives.

*CHECK YOUR LABELS before you buy something next time at the grocery- you may be amazed at the use of Palm Oil. If you have opted for sustainable palm - check out this handy app  to help you navigate your palm sustainability.

Download your own Palm Oil Awareness Tool Kit Here and a free smart phone app called PalmSmart to help you easily understand if a product contains palm oil, and what those palm oil practices are Here app to learn more today.

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