You can find "sustainable" palm oil, certified through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), but there's some controversy around this as well. According to Greenpeace, there's very little to stop companies from having part of their operations certified by the RSPO while they continue to use unsustainable means in other palm plantations elsewhere (source), giving the illusion of much greater sustainability than is real. There have also been instances of both child labour and forced labour discovered on RSPO certified plantations. (source)
Personally, I don't think it's feasible for me to completely eliminate palm oil at this point, but I do make an effort to minimize my consumption. I'm a diligent label reader - of both food and personal care products - which allows me to always make informed choices. Generally I allow palm oil in makeup items and some palm oil derivatives in skin and body care, but I don't use products that contain large quantities of this ingredient.
Bar soap is one of the largest body care culprits for palm oil - both because it's less costly than a lot of other oils and because it creates a firm, long lasting bar of soap - but it's one product that I refuse to compromise on. And there's no need: there are plenty of lovely natural soaps made without a trace of palm oil. (See below for some great examples!) Currently many of these offerings are from smaller, artisan companies, but I'm hopeful that we'll see more large companies taking notice of this issue in the future too.
1. Meow Meow Tweet Fennel Orange Soap
2. Tierra Mia Organics Gentleman's Soap
3. SoapGirl Wine + Roses Soap
4. Green Beaver Lavender Sunflower Soap
5. Vice and Velvet Jewel Soap Sampler
6. Ella's Botanicals Skin Soother Bar
7. Aquarian Bath Neem Olive Oil Soap
8. Organic Fiji Tea Tree Spearmint Soap
9. By Valenti Organics Almond Coconut Soap
10. Hugo Naturals Vanilla & Sweet Orange Soap
11. Acure Mint Cookie + Omega 7 Soap
12. Etta + Billie Earl Grey Soap
Is palm oil an ingredient you're concerned about? Are there other palm oil free soaps you'd recommend?
Contains affiliate links.