Sustainability & COP26 Glasgow:
Protecting Forests & People – Embracing Sustainable Palm Oil

Posted 26th October 2021

Sustainable Palm Oil

At Soapworks, we pride ourselves on using our products as a tool to inspire impactful positive change.

In part-two of this blog series on COP26 and sustainability, we’re explaining how the ways in which we both make and distribute our soap bars is beneficial to the planet and the communities who inhabit it.

To catch up on part-one, please click here.

Palm Oil – A Pressing Issue

Palm oil is everywhere – it’s found in more than 50% of all packaged supermarket products. It’s moisturising and texturizing qualities also make it integral to the creation of many bar soaps and toiletries.

Palm is a tropical crop. Plantation development and unsustainable farming has led to the clearance of tropical rainforests in key producing countries. Unsustainable production releases damaging greenhouse gasses, threatens the habitat of endangered species and displaces indigenous communities.

However, there is an alternative. Responsibly sourced, sustainable palm oil can be produced in a way that puts people and the environment first. This was recently highlighted by the eminent broadcaster, writer and naturalist, Sir David Attenborough who stated:

“The balance between our needs and conservation is hard, but we can offer a vital lifeline for our forest relatives. We may be able to protect them through simple choices, like buying products made with deforestation-free, sustainable palm oil from companies that support local people, using existing plantations, without cutting down more rainforest.”

Sir David Attenborough- ‘Seven Worlds One Planet’ documentary

Switching away from palm oil doesn’t solve the problem. Palm is the world’s most efficient oil crop, and it takes around 4-10 times as much land to grow alternatives like soya and rapeseed. A recent report by the IUCN found that switching would cause a net loss in both forest coverage and biodiversity.

At Soapworks, we believe the best solution to protect forests, wildlife and people lies in certified sustainable palm. In 2020, 93% of the soap bars we produced used certified sustainable palm oil – and we’re actively encouraging all businesses to make the more sustainable choice going forwards.

Social Good – Donating 500,000 Bars of Soap

Soapworks was founded by Body Shop Entrepreneur, Dame Anita Roddick – who wanted to bring employment opportunities to the local community of Easterhouse in Glasgow.

Anita had a profound belief in the importance of doing social good, and worked tirelessly for the good of our community, and in support of those in challenging circumstances across the world. Soapworks’ founding principles of ethical social enterprise and sustainability remain integral to our business today.

In 2002, we launched an initiative in partnership with Glasgow the Caring City to provide bar soaps to vulnerable communities in the city, across the UK and overseas. This has since grown significantly, and last year, we donated more than half a million bars to support vulnerable people and help fight the covid pandemic.

In addition to supporting local food banks and homeless shelters, our donations were sent to help vulnerable communities and refugees in Northern France, Serbia, Bosnia, Greece and Lebanon – to people affected by war, disease, natural disasters and acute deprivation.

Contact Us

For additional information on Soapworks, our social and sustainability initiatives or our products, please get in touch with the team today on +44 (0)141 744 2282, or email

Soapworks Side Bar Soaps Collection

“In 2020, 93% of the soap bars we produced used certified sustainable palm oil – and we’re actively encouraging all businesses to make the more sustainable choice going forwards.”