Stop the Use of Environmentally Destructive Material in Cosmetics

Clinique Photo

Target: Fabrizio Freda, President and CEO of Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.

Goal: Stop the use of palm oil in Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.’s products until verified sustainable growing of palm oil takes place

Cosmetic and personal care companies are big users of palm oil and palm oil derivatives, which often come from deforested and ravaged habitats. Palm oil is produced in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, but the vast majority comes from Indonesia and Malaysia where endangered species such as orangutans, the Sumatran Tiger, elephants, and rhinoceros are losing precious space to live and roam. Many companies have pledged to act in an environmentally sustainable manner and joined organizations such as the Natural Resources Stewardship Circle (NRSC) or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) which both have missions to protect and care for the planet. however, these organizations are not doing enough.

In an effort to be sustainable, Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. follows a list of Supplier Code of Conduct Principles, one of which claims to “safeguard the environment and reduce the environmental impact of operations.” Estée Lauder also highlights its partnership with the NRSC, an affiliate member of the RSPO, as an indication that it uses sustainable palm oil. Unfortunately, this is not a sufficient safeguard against the use of unsustainable palm oil. While both the NRSC and RSPO have laudable intentions, the RSPO certified sustainable palm oil is sourced from an untraceable supply chain where sustainable and unsustainable palm fruit and palm oil are mixed and later sold as RSPO certified.

As the parent company of such brands as Clinique, Aveda, M.A.C., and Bobbie Brown, Estée Lauder governs many make-up lines that use palm oil and palm oil derivatives. In order to guarantee that the palm oil products used in Estée Lauder’s cosmetics are sustainable, the current organizations which claim to certify sustainable palm oil must change their policies. Until this happens, any use of palm oil, whether certified as sustainable or not, means that environmental degradation is taking place. If Estée Lauder truly wants to follow through on its claims that it supports the environment, it needs to stop the use of palm oil products in its cosmetics until true certification of sustainable palm oil can occur. Tell Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. to find another ingredient for their products so as to protect the habitats of endangered wildlife.


Dear Mr. Freda,

Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. has made an effort to be sustainable and support biodiversity and conservation by partnering with the Natural Resources Stewardship Circle (NRSC). As an affiliate member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the NRSC clearly has good intentions. Unfortunately, palm oil that is certified by the RSPO as sustainable is sourced from un untraced supply chain where mixing of dirty and clean palm oil occurs. Additionally, plantations certified by the RSPO are often created on deforested land, which is a practice that advances climate change and the destruction of endangered species.

Your company is the parent company of many other cosmetic brands, and the use of palm oil products is widespread. Although you may feel you have done enough to ensure that your products are sustainable, please reconsider the current production process of RSPO certified palm oil. This oil cannot be guaranteed to be sustainable and until it can, I ask you to find an alternative ingredient for the cosmetics in such brands as Estée Lauder, M.A.C., Bobby Brown, Clinique, and Aveda, all of which produce items with palm oil derivatives. Stop the use of plam oil until you can truly guarantee that wildlife and crucial ecosystems are not being damaged in the process.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Hans Olav Lien via Wikipedia

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