085: How Palm Oil is destroying our Orangutans with Leif Cocks


In this episode, we talk to Leif Cocks. He is an author, speaker and the founder and president of the Orangutan Project. He and his team are working to ensure the compassion, freedom and protection for Critically Endangered Orangutans.  

During this episode, we take a look at how palm oil is one of the main causes for destroying the forest, driving the Orangutan number down even further. We look at ways to help out the Orangutans by reading labels, making sure the products we buy are palm oil-free. Leif also shares with us some of the heart-warming stories of some of the Orangutans and the team taking care of them.  

Below are some of the names that are used to hide palm oil in our ingredients.

  • PKO – Palm Kernel Oil 
  • PKO fractionations: Palm Kernel Stearin (PKs); Palm Kernel Olein (PKOo) 
  • PHPKO – Partially hydrogenated Palm Oil 
  • FP(K)O – Fractionated Palm Oil 
  • OPKO – Organic Palm Kernel Oil 
  • Palmitate – Vitamin A or Asorbyl Palmitate (NOTE: Vitamin A Palmitate is a very common ingredient in breakfast cereals and we have confirmed 100% of the samples we’ve investigated to be derived from palm oil) 
  • Palmate 
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate (Can also be from coconut) 
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (can also be from ricinus oil) 
  • Sodium dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS) 
  • Elaeis Guineensis 
  • Glyceryl Stearate 
  • Stearic Acid 
  • Chemicals which contain palm oil 
  • Steareth -2 
  • Steareth -20 
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate 
  • Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (coconut and/or palm) 
  • Hydrated palm glycerides 
  • Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye (derived from vegetable stearic acid) 
  • Cetyl palmitate and octyl palmitate (names with palmitate at the end are usually derived from palm oil, but as in the case of Vitamin A Palmitate, very rarely a company will use a different vegetable oil) 

Where can people find Leif?

Support The Orangutan Project 


Instagram – The Orangutan Project

Instagram – Leif Cocks



Key Take Away

“If we don’t act now there might not be any Orangutans left to protect”

About the author, Mariska

Hi and welcome! My name is Mariska. I am originally from South Africa, but now call the world my home. I am an artist, designer, environmentalist, podcast host and speaker.

I started the Mama Earth Talk podcast in 2018 to share some of the things that I learned about just how easy it can be to reduce your impact on the environment. This then quickly grew into a forum that showcases the amazing things that many people are doing to make the planet better, and further into a source of hope and inspiration for many. A few of the amazing guests include Zero Waste Queen, Bea Johnson, Claude Silver, Kathryn Kellogg and zero waste chef Max La Manna.

If you do not already I urge you to follow me and my journey on social media (@designbymariska), and to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot your own waste using the handy tips I post!


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