Another heads up for vegans regarding coconut oil in perfume & other indie products
I would like to share this information with others here who might have gotten into indies and IMAM due to becoming vegan (as was the case with myself).
I'm really saddened and shocked by this, especially as I've been trying out many indie perfumes with fractionated coconut oil listed as an ingredient. I saw a video on youtube where a farmer in Thailand used a whip to intimidate and force a reluctant monkey, made a monkey jump across tall trees when he/she obviously didn't feel safe, etc. I do not consider monkey-harvested coconuts to be vegan or cruelty free. I know that I cannot assume every single farm in Thailand, for example, uses monkeys to harvest coconuts, but if there is even a slight doubt or small percentage chance, without a way to confirm it, then I would rather not buy products containing coconut oil at all.
As far as I know, Solstice Scents and Sixteen92 currently use rice bran oil and not coconut oil in their perfume oils. I wrote to some other indie perfumeries whose perfumes I currently use or will try, to ask about the coconut oil they use, and specifically asked whether they knew anything about the supplier with regards to utilizing monkeys, or at least the origin country. Here are the responses I have received.
Haus of Gloi
After my initial email, I wrote a second time after receiving no answer for 4 days. I got this response from Matt:
"We do try to source our oils as ethically as possible. I know that Britton and Jen usually use "Round Table" suppliers, who are generally the best that you can get in the context of the industry. I'll be happy to forward your question to Jen to see if she can provide you with more specific information."
It's been a few days, and I haven't heard back anything further yet. I also briefly researched what round table suppliers are, and as far as I saw, I didn't see any guarantee against the utilization of animals.
Sharra replied to my message in less than a day:
"Thank you so much for sharing this! If I use any nut oils commercially or personally, my preference is to use oils from Vanuatu as these are typically produced on small family farms which greatly helps sustainable economic development in rural areas. My understanding is that monkeys aren't involved but I'll try to do more research. Also, the quality of Vanuatu sourced botanical ingredients tends to be just outstanding compared to many other countries of origin! I chalk it up to the emphasis on more old fashioned, low-tech manufacturing techniques. For our perfumes, I don't use carriers unless I specify. When I do use them, they will be Meadowfoam or jojoba. Thank you for loving our animal friends! I'll certainly pass the word along to other folks I know because I'm sure they'd want to know about this!"
I followed up and looked up Vanuatu. It seems that there are no indigenous monkeys living in Vanuatu. Please feel free to correct me if you find any facts to contradict this.
Thoth replied to my email in a few hours:
"I value your question very much and we are aware of this awful harvesting of coconuts and I can assure you the key coconut ingredient we use is from California and we pick them ourselves, while we may not know all the suppliers and their regimen we are cruelty free first and foremost and this is part of everything we do. All of us are vegan and not for health reasons but for the love of animals. We do use other coconut ingredients from other regions in the world (also from cruelty-free and human workers), but the key coconut we use is Studio made. I can confirm that all of the coconut materials we utilize are cruelty-free."
I have also written to Cocoa Pink, and will update here when I get a response. I haven't checked with any other indie companies yet, but if anyone here does have insight into other companies, please kindly let me know. Thank you for reading!