There are two main fruit-bearing tropical palm tree species: Cocos Nucifera (which produces coconuts) and Elaesis Guineensis, or the African oil palm. The African oil palm produces the fruit from which palm oil is extracted. Oil palms reach maturity around 3-4 years of age and grow and produce fruit year-round for up to 40 years. Palm oil is the final product extracted from the harvested fresh fruit bunches (FFB) of the oil palm tree.

Palm oil can be used in a wide variety of ways. Oil from the kernel of the fruit is pressed separately from the pulp and has a higher saturated fat content and high lauric acid content. Oil from the kernel is used in soaps, cosmetics, household products, and personal care products. Oil pressed from the fruit creates unrefined red palm oil, which is high in antioxidants and beta-Carotenes. Red palm oil has a nutty flavor and mid-range smoking point which makes it an excellent oil for cooking, baking, and medium-heat frying.

Palm oil consists of certain fats that are essential for the body. These fats act as building blocks for cell membranes and hormones, are a source of concentrated energy, and serve as a channel for fat-soluble vitamins to be absorbed by the body. Red palm oil has a high concentration of vitamin A and vitamin E. Not to mention, it tastes great – so it’s the perfect staple of any well-balanced, cooked meal.

Oil pressed from the kernel is higher in saturated fats than oil pressed from the fruit. Kernel palm oil is great for soaps, cosmetics, household cleaning items, and personal care items.

Oil pressed from the fruit palm is unrefined red palm oil. Red palm oil is good for cooking, nutritional supplements, and animal feed.Refined palm oil (RBD palm) is good for shortening, baking, margarine, frying, & soaps.

Palm Stearin is a solid fraction that is good for margarine, spreads, baking, confections, and frozen desserts.

Palm Olien is a liquid fraction that is good for cooking & deep frying because of its high smoke point.

Did you know that roughly half of the products in your pantry contain palm oil? That is because palm oil is a versatile ingredient for food, cleaners, and personal care and beauty products. Some of the benefits of palm oil are as follows:

  • At room temperature, palm oil has a natural texture and plasticity similar to hydrogenated corn or soy oil, but without the harmful hydrogenation.
  • Palm oil is resistant to oxidation and rancidity. It can extend the shelf life of a product as an ingredient.
  • It has a better, non-greasy mouthfeel than other vegetable oils.
  • It is a good blending oil, and can serve as a great vegan alternative to butter.
  • Red palm oil is chock-full of antioxidants, including carotenoids and tocotrienol compounds found in vitamin E.
  • It’s a great, functional base for natural soaps and other natural cleaning products.
  • It’s a sustainable alternative to ingredients in cosmetics that contain petroleum. Palm oil is also a great emollient for balms and lotions.
  • When Done Right, palm oil is the highest yielding vegetable oil on earth. It produces 5-10 times more oil per acre than any other commodity oil.

Palm oil itself is inherently sustainable and nutritious. Sadly, the way in which most palm oil has historically been produced has had substantial consequences on the environment and habitats in which it is made. Several endangered species such as the Sumerian tiger, Asian rhinoceros, and Sumatran orangutan can link their demise to the havoc that has been wreaked on their habitats at the hands of irresponsible palm oil harvesting.

The palm oil industry has burned carbon-rich soils leading to rampant fires, utilized synthetic fertilizers and chemical herbicides and pesticides that contribute to the release of greenhouse gases, and in turn, have caused the destruction of many native habitats.

Palm Done Right looks to change all of that, by showing that there is a sustainable and eco-conscious way to harvest palm oil.

Endangered animals facing the brink of extinction, the destruction of rainforests, blazing peat fires, and human rights issues are all symptoms of palm done WRONG.

The Palm Done Right Promise is to promote the sustainable and ethical harvesting practices of palm oil. It can be summarized in four parts.

  1. 100% Organic: Organic agriculture is essential to securing healthy resilient ecosystems.
  2. Deforestation-Free: To date 2 billion hectares of land has been degraded worldwide. We need to eradicate deforestation and degradation from our supply chains.
  3. Wildlife Friendly: Species diversity is crucial to preserving our living planet for future generations.
  4. Fair & Social: Every person around the world deserves to be treated with dignity and equality.

We believe that palm oil is an incredible product, read the rest of our Palm Done Right Promise to learn more.

The conventional palm industry will often clear-cut primal forest, displacing (or even killing) native species. Palm Done Right is here to change that.

Palm Done Right farmers utilize already degraded land by growing organic palms and other complimentary crops, while leaving a portion of land uncultivated in order to foster biodiversity.

Palm Done Right is investing in learning about threatened species and indigenous plants and animals in the surrounding areas of the farms. Developing programs to protect the natural habitat and species increases biodiversity and creates a stronger ecosystem.

Farmers in the palm oil industry have historically been treated unfairly. The supply chain within the inequitable trade system has often displaced farmers or trapped them in a cycle of low-wage poverty. Palm Done Right utilizing Fair Trade practices has a much more positive effect on farmers, by making them partners in the process rather than exploiting them. Fair wages, empowerment strategies, community and cooperation are all staples of Palm Done Right.

Palm Done Right is about acknowledging that palm oil is grown in some of the poorest areas of the world. In many places, crucial services such as running water, electricity, education, and basic healthcare are lacking. It is our belief that companies who are invested in the business of palm oil must take a proactive role in also investing in the communities in which palm is grown.

Palm Done Right is about partnering with palm farmers and community members, contributing to developmental programs that benefit the community, and harvesting mutual collaboration and respect.

Palm Done Right farmers use organic growing practices by not utilizing chemical pesticides and herbicides. This is in great contrast to industrial palm plantations that utilize harsh chemicals and heavy machinery, thereby damaging natural ecosystems and habitats. There has been more and more recent evidence to suggest that these harsh chemicals also have negative side effects for our health.

Palm Done Right takes into account the belief that farmers who grow organically become stewards of the land and soil, rather than takers from it.

Oil palms produce fruit year-round, for up to 40 years – making them less of a burden on natural soil than annual crops, as well as profitable for farmers throughout the seasons. Palm Done Right farmers only practice natural methods of farming, such as using leguminous cover crops, mulching, and composting – which increases palm fruit production.

It takes about 20 weeks for fresh palm fruit to ripen. Farmers harvest fruit by hand or by using a scythe tool before transporting the fruit to the mill, often using donkeys, horses, or oxen to help them.

The milling process generally has five steps:

  1. Fresh fruit is placed in a large container with pressurized steam. The steam deactivates the enzyme in the fruit that causes rancidity.
  2. The fruit bunches go into a large drum tumbler which separates the fruit from the other material before composting the unneeded parts.
  3. The fruit gets put into a press, or low-speed steam “digester” which loosens the oil from the fruit pulp, before being put into a hydraulic press.
  4. The liquid mixture which consists of oil, water, fiber, and kernels are put onto a vibrating screen which separates the solids. Kernels are collected from the solids and saved for a separate pressing. The separated fiber is recycled and used as a fuel for the steamers.
  5. The remaining liquid goes into a clarifying tank which uses centrifugal force to separate the water and the oil. Palm Done Right makes sure that wastewater is handled correctly rather than dumped back into the water supply: either by filtering it through a biodigester or by making sure it stays safe in a secure holding pool.

Depending on the end product, the oil is then transferred to the refinery in order to be shaped into its final form.

Why You Should Get Involved
with Palm Done Right

Palm can be grown for good, bringing benefits to:

  • Our planet, due to palm oil’s land efficiency.
  • Local communities, due to the economic development oil palm production creates.
  • Our market, due to palm oil’s versatility and functionality as an ingredient, lifting product quality and performance.

Together, we can influence change for:

  • Manufacturers that are still using conflict palm oil for their products.
  • Retailers that are still listing products that contain conflict palm oil.
  • Brokers and distributors that are still supplying their customers with products that contain conflict palm oil.
  • Shoppers that have the power to vote with their dollar.

Get Involved