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Sustainable Palm: An ASCC panel discussion I missed out on being part of due to an I.T fail!

October 19, 2021

Last week I hit a bit of a low spot after missing out on this event.

I’ve had a lot stressing me out mentally for the last couple of years and only relatively recently felt on top of it enough to start participating in industry events, forums, talks etc.

I was accepted into the IFSCC (International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists) event to showcase my research which was amazing. Then had to deffer that as I couldn’t get the research finished due to COVID restrictions, a lack of funding, my exhausted brain and (as a consequence of overload) fragile mental health.

I was invited to talk at the Cosmetic Science conference in Thailand but had to pull out of that due to last minute confusion over dates and again me having nothing left in the tank to organise myself in time.

And now this.

This time I had prepared notes and was thoroughly briefed. Had practiced on the conference IT platform and had set up my profile and orientated myself. I was set up ready on the day and logged in to the site again and then boom. It all went wrong.

What went wrong is that I’d done my set up IT test at home on my desk top but was working away from home on talk day. I had read that the platform we were using wasn’t compatible with a number of browsers, tablets or phones but after having had no issues in the test round (or so I believed, I actually don’t know now I think about it) I forgot that detail again until the clock struck 3 and we were live. The system we were to use was not compatible with my Apple Mac browser! As it is a works computer I can’t change the browser settings without the help of the IT department who were off site at that time and (as it happens) struggling with their own issues due to the rumbling thunder taking out the internet where they were. Long story short I tried my Ipad (different browser) and got some but not enough joy. Tried my phone and had no luck at all, the other office computers and no- they all ran a browser that wasn’t supported. Before I knew it I missed 40 out of 60 minutes and had only managed a very brief appearance in the chat box and a few minutes of panel talk audio before I lost the whole thing.

These things don’t usually get to me but at the moment, probably because of all that’s been happening in life, it’s just a little soul destroying. I’m torn between becoming a permanent hermit or carrying on doing my best while risking letting other people down. I’m sure I’ll work through those feelings in therapy when the next appointment rolls around…

Once the dust had settled in my brain and idea came to me. While I don’t like the idea of hogging the attention or making this all about me, I did feel that I have some interesting things to add to this topic. It’s something I’ve been writing, thinking and participating in since my consultancy started in 2007 and even before that with my visits to Indonesia and Malaysia and since, with the work I’m doing on my own little farm out in the NSW central west. So I made this video.

I am sorry to have missed out on listening to the other participants who were (in their own words):

Maria Abadilla, Chairperson, Orangutan Alliance

Maria Abadilla is the Founder and Chairperson of the Orangutan Alliance an International Palm Oil Free Certification Program. In her role she leads the organisation’s strategic direction and works closely together with the Alliance’s Board and strategic partners.

Maria has over 20 years’ experience in product development and brand management. Prior to founding the Orangutan Alliance, Maria led her own consultancy working with Australia’s top 100 Franchise and FCMG businesses on strategy and product development as well as conservation projects.

Maria founded the Orangutan Alliance (palm oil free certification) out of passion for the preservation of the environment and its endangered species. Through the Alliance she aims encourage the investment and dialogue about alternatives to non-sustainable palm oil and advocate for transparent labelling and consumer choice on this issue.

With the palm oil free certification scheme the Orangutan Alliance looks to bridge the gap s between consumer demand, product development on the manufacturers side while creating a new revenue stream for conservation. Orangutan Alliance is part of the growing movement driven by consumer demand towards ethical and transparent labelling of products. Visit for more information.

Moderator: Julian Jones, Managing Director, Ikonsulting Pty Ltd

Julian Jones, the founder of ikonique®, is passionate about the skincare industry in Australia. Julian has worked in the industry for over thirty years. He is widely known and respected both nationally and internationally for his knowledge and skills in developing and marketing the best anti-aging skincare. Julian has seen the skincare market make amazing progress over that time and is excited about the performance that is now possible when products are carefully and properly formulated and manufactured. Julian has applied his vast knowledge and experience to create ikonique®.

Louise Robertson, R & D Chemist, Ensign Laboratories Pty Ltd

Louise Robertson completed her Bachelors degree in science majoring in biochemistry in 2012 and has been working in the cosmetics manufacturing industry for almost 9 years now, she currently working for Ensign Laboratories as an innovation research and development chemist. Louise has a strong passion for the cosmetic industry, sustainability and innovation having experience formulating products from the ground up for many different regions, Louise is always keen to learn about how new and old technologies can be harnessed to create unique and captivating formulations. Louise has experience developing both palm free and sustainable palm personal care formulations to meet the clients expectations and the end consumers expectations.

Matthew Martens,Industry Sales Manager – Consumer Care Croda Australia

Matthew didn’t have a bio on the panel chat bit I got this from but he’s extremely knowledgeable, was the ASCC President for at least a couple of years and is an all-round decent chap who knows his stuff so I’m sure his contribution was as interesting as the others.

Anyway, this is me answering the questions as they were presented to me in an email prior to the event. I hope my belated contribution to the panel talk is worth some of your valuable time. Also on the YouTube video description I’ve linked to some of the articles I read while getting myself up to date with this topic.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike Thair permalink
    October 19, 2021 7:10 pm

    You make some VERY valid points here…. good work.


    Kind regards,

    Dr. Mike Thair

    Managing Director & Master Formulator


    Indochine Natural Sdn. Bhd.

    Factory Retail Outlet

    16 Lebuh Lembah Permai 4, Tanjung Bungah 11200, Penang Island, MALAYSIA

    Office Phone: +60 4 890 9577

    Hand phone: +60 16 6579572



  2. Philip Jacobs permalink
    October 20, 2021 10:01 pm

    Thank you Amanda, as I mentioned on LinkedIn, you provided a well balanced perspective for the use of Palm…. I share your thoughts regarding challenging anti-palmists with the statement “what is your alternative?” and the answer is usually Coconut without realising that the situation would be a lot worst when compaing the various yield measurements between Palm and Coconut…

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      October 20, 2021 10:04 pm

      Thanks for watching and commenting Philip. It’s definitely the ‘love to hate’ crop thanks to certain marketing professionals who know more about heart strings than reality.

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