Cosmetics giant Lush is doing its part to help save critically endangered orangutans. The cruelty-free brand created 14,600 bars of limited edition vegan soap – the same number of Sumatran orangutans left in the world.
The soaps were made in collaboration with Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) and its local partner Orangutan Information Centre (OIC) as part of the #SOSsumatra campaign which launched in November last year.
Shaped liked the animal, the cruelty-free soaps have a patchouli and orange fragrance. They include extra virgin coconut oil from Nias, an island located off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, and are“as precious as the primate it is helping protect,” Lush said in a statement.
“Every penny” – minus VAT – from the orangutan soaps sold will go toward the cause. Last year, the campaign raised more than £120,000, allowing SOS and OIC to buy 50 hectares of ex-palm plantation and restore it back into natural forest. This year, Lush hopes to help the organizations purchase another 50 hectares – to “rebuild the home humans have taken” – as well as raise awareness about deforestation. Lush will also launch an exclusive SOS Sumatra shampoo bar later this year that’s earnings will also be donated to the conservational cause.
Director of SOS Helen Buckland said, “Sumatra’s forests have been falling relentlessly for decades, pushing orangutans and many other species to the edge of extinction,” referring to the 80,316 hectares of forest that were lost in Indonesia in just five years.
Writing about the soaps, Lush said, “Make sure to get yours while you can, because once they’re gone they’re gone … much like the orangutans of the Sumatran forest.”
“Buying this soap will not save the planet,” the brand acknowledged. “But a revolution has to start somewhere.”
Lush joins other companies working to help the species. Leading UK supermarket Iceland banned palm oil as an ingredient in its own-brand products. It later released an ad showing the environmental impact of palm oil production on rainforests and how this wipes out orangutan populations. The ad was deemed “too political” for television broadcasting, a decision that spurred more than one million people to sign a petition urging that it be shown on television.
Lush’s orangutan soaps are available for £8.25 from its European stores as well as online.