My name is Maria and I am a proud co-owner of Evergreen Cannabis Store, Vancouver’s first retail cannabis store. We are always trying to do our best to be 100% palm-oil free and would like to take further action. We need other stores to come together on this. As well, what we really need is government to ban palm-oil in Canada because it is ironically an unnecessary ingredient that is extremely unethical.
First of all why?
Palm-oil production is destroying global rain-forests. Replacing rain forests with palm-oil plantations is the direct cause for entire ecosystems destroyed which involves loss of natural habitats and bio-diversity, including the slaughtering of large numbers of orangutans every year. It is responsible for accelerating climate change, reduction of global air quality, and human rights violations. To top that off it is very unhealthy to consume!
There are so many reasons to avoid buying products containing palm-oil. However we are faced with the fact it is being added to more and more of our processed foods and topicals as a cheaper alternative to all other oils.
It is found in many of our processed foods and topicals such a chocolates, cereal boxes, chips, snacks, crackers, shampoos, and soaps … pretty much everything. However, there are brands and products that do not contain this unnecessary ingredient and we the consumer can make an ethical choice when shopping.
So far, we have put pressure on the government and the brands we carry to be more transparent about labelling ingredients. As soon as we discover a product containing palm-oil we stop carrying it or refuse to order it. We have spoken to the brands and our customers as to why.
We have written emails to individual brands asking them to fully disclose all ingredients they’re using in their products. We discovered that certain companies weren’t disclosing that their MCT oil was actually derived from palm and not coconut oil so we have completely stopped carrying those products.
Recently, through further research, much to my horror, my staff have discovered that glycerine and SLS (commonly found in soap and shampoo) are often a disguise for palm-oil.
Although Canada has strict rules about labelling, companies are finding ways to legally break those rules. There are countless other names for palm-oil. We need to improve labelling laws in Canada so consumers have full transparency in what they are purchasing and can make informed choices.
As for the cannabis industry, alarmingly, we have noticed that more and more new edibles coming into the legal market contain palm-oil. All the gummies for example contain palm-oil. Would you want to chew a gummy knowing its unhealthy when we have high quality, fair trade, organic chocolates available?
I do my best to reduce my impact on the climate, but we also need our governments (municipal, provincial and federal) to act at the scale and speed necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and to keep Canadians healthy. I expect our elected officials in all levels of government to prioritize bold climate action. Inaction is too costly, risky and unjust.
I have always been deeply concerned with the environment and although I sign petitions, donate monthly to good causes, and try to shop ethically when I can, I have often felt a sense of helplessness as most people do. I remember David Suzuki saying “think globally, act locally” and as a shop owner I am exploring how I can do that, armed with a talented staff who are also concerned about the same thing, and a cannabis community that can hopefully help.
Unfortunately, many people still happen to remain unaware of the global issues associated with palm-oil.