Palm Oil from Ghana
Organic palm oil is a primary ingredient in Dr. Bronner’s Castile Bar Soaps. Palm oil gives the bar its hardness and balances the lathering power of coconut oil, while keeping the soap from softening and dissolving too fast.
Our palm oil is produced ethically from sustainably-harvested palm fruits in Ghana’s Eastern Region. The project is owned and coordinated by Serendipalm, Dr. Bronner’s sister company in Ghana. We buy palm fruits exclusively from 500 small organic family farms. These farms were developed without the widespread clear-cutting of rainforest and resulting devastation to local primates that are common nowadays with many of the newer, larger-scale palm oil plantations.
We pay our farmers fair prices for their palm fruits and support them with mulch and organic agriculture training, thus helping them to improve soil fertility and profitability. The 250+ workers in our oil mill, primarily local women, enjoy working conditions and compensation uncommon in this industry – and in an area that has few reliable jobs to offer to its growing rural population.
Serendipalm now supplies Fair Trade and organic palm oil to Dr. Bronner’s, as well as three renowned European Fair Trade companies. For each shipment of palm oil, Serendipalm receives a Fair Trade premium. The premium has been used for a range of community development projects, such as drilling wells and installing tanks to provide community-operated water systems, building public toilet facilities, rebuilding a pedestrian bridge, installing lighting, and providing school supplies to our staff members’ children. These projects are selected by a committee with broad-based representation and offer great opportunities for targeted community development projects for which there are otherwise no funds available.
We believe that the technical characteristics of palm oil give it an important place in organic foods and personal care products. With global demand for palm oil surging, and the realization that large-scale palm oil plantations are often neither “green” nor “fair,” our project is expanding to supply growing demand. It demonstrates that small-scale production of such commodities can indeed be fair, profitable and sustainable.