This is a "reprint" of a blog posting from Soap and The Finer Things In Life, a soaping blog written by Ann-Marie Faiola, soap and business extraordinaire. This might be interesting for the soapers out there.
"Palm Oil is one of my favorite oils in soap making. It contributes to a harder bar and also helps Coconut Oil do its job and lather up big bubbles. Unfortunately, there are some negative repercussions from using Palm Oil to the environment.
How can something natural be harmful to the environment? Demand for palm oil is the leading cause for rain forest deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia, according to Friends of the Earth. The land occupied by palm oil plantations has doubled in the last ten years in Indonesia, endangering the habitat of the orangutan, Asian elephant and the Sumatran tiger. These plantations pollute the soil and water with use of pesticides.
Things that you can do if you're a soap maker using Palm Oil: try to use Olive, Sunflower and Canola in larger proportions in your recipe. Buy sustainably grown Palm Oil that is grown in rehabilitated agricultural areas or from smaller farms that don't harm animal habitat and migration patterns. You can support companies that are part of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Production, co founded by the World Wildlife Fund."
I have great respect for people who hand make cold process soap. I have always dreamed of trying it, but for now, I'll leave it to the ones who can. Thanks, Ann-Marie, for the great info!