23/04/2008 (The Independent) - Think of Dove cosmetics and you might think of a bunch of right-on soap makers, who have contributed to the great feminist movement by plastering pictures of plus-size women in their bras and knickers on advertising billboards across the country.
But their shower gels and soaps are packed full of palm oil from Indonesian producers, who are destroying precious rainforest to make way for the palm plantations. Experts estimate the forests of Borneo, Sumatra and Bali will have all but disappeared within the next five to 25 years. Most of the lowland forest areas are already history.
Unilever, by its own admission, is the biggest user of palm oil on the planet.
Greenpeace has launched a campaign against Unilever to try and prevent more forest areas being razed to make way for palm trees. Greenpeace isn't asking you to stop washing, or even boycott Unilever, just to ask them to own up to their actions in Indonesia, instead of pretending to be an environmentally-responsible company.
Palm oil is a component of most soaps and washing powders, and of the evil biofuels which are a major contributor to global food shortages, but there are alternatives. Lush recently developed a palm oil free soap, which seems to work just as well as its palm oil precursor.