South-east Asia's plantations supply much of the world’s palm oil, a key ingredient in food products and cosmetics.
Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia have been under a haze pollution from burning forests which green advocates put down to the 'slash and burn' practice of farmers and the land clearing operations of palm oil plantations.
The “We Breathe What We Buy” campaign is calling for companies to be more transparent about their supply chains, particularly those involved in the palm oil and forestry sectors.
The green movement is also asking consumers to make 'informed and responsible purchases' and to put pressure on companies to invest in a more sustainable production process of palm oil.
Despite the obvious sustainable benefits of coconut oil over palm, a politician has accused the Philippines government that the latter should be given an equal footing as coconut shows 'little growth' due to pests and calamities.
Cosmetics industry has been working with more sustainable materials
Producing cosmetic ingredients in a sustainable way has become a pressing issue for the beauty industry and companies have certainly felt the pressure to adopt greener strategies.
Coconut oil derivatives are increasingly being used in personal care, and with over 15 billion, the Philippines is one of the leading global producers of coconuts a year, covering about 26 per cent of the country's land.
One recent project, partly financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, was established to process oil from the coconut flesh in a more sustainable way on the southern island of Mindanao.
German chemicals firm BASF got involved and after a three year period succeeded in establishing the world's first certified production of dried coconut flesh or 'copra' to oil in the Philippines.
As a result of the project, 300 small farmers from the region now produce the world's first Rainforest Alliance certified copra meeting the standards of the SAN.