The Bad News About Soy - Why We Broke Up in 2017


When we found out that the soy industry was the second largest contributor to deforestation & global warming (second only to the fashion industry), we were beyond shocked.

We felt betrayed. We felt duped. We then stopped production of all our soy wax products.

Despite what some marketers would have us believe, "100% natural eco-friendly soy wax" simply does NOT exist.

Yes, soy wax is made from a plant, but this doesn’t mean it’s 'organic' or even ‘natural'...

By now, we are all familiar with the 'greenwashing' concept; when a company or brand uses misleading phrases for the consumer to make them think it is really "green" while distracting attention away from the not-so-green activities they are doing. 

Disappointingly, we discovered that ‘eco-friendly soy wax’ is no more than a greenwashed marketing gimmick too - a product strategically campaigned by the soy farming industry giants.

What I am about to share with you will be contrary to what most believe, but will come as no surprise to many. To preface, I come from a 3rd generation agricultural family, who are now at the forefront of practicing innovative eco-conscious farming disciplines. I have seen AND lived first-hand, farming practises and procedures my whole life , so what I can accurately describe comes from a deep rooted knowledge of the agricultural industry and farming practises.

"But why are you even talking about farming?" I hear you ask... "What has that got to do with soy wax?"

To explain the connection in more detail...

At the expense of our planet, soy farming industry giants began, and continue to perpetuate, the marketing myth that soy is a ‘natural’ and ‘eco-friendly’ product, thereby differentiating themselves in a highly competitive market. Keen to believe the myth of a perfect ‘green eco-friendly product’, well-meaning manufacturers, suppliers, mainstream media, makers and bloggers alike all regurgitate the same greenwashed, false advertising spiel that lead us all to believe that soy wax is a chemical free ‘natural & eco’ product.

Soy wax is not a ‘natural’ product OR even an eco-friendly product. It is a highly chemically processed by-product of the soy bean industry, made from genetically modified soybean oil (GMO), which is then chemically treated with poisonous petrochemicals.

Soy crops are grown using high-intensity farming processes, needed to produce soybeans en-masse; thousands of hectares of natural habitats, forests and animal sanctuaries are bulldozed and destroyed (deforestation) to make way for planting soy crops. 

These soy bean crops are then sprayed with extremely toxic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and chemicals to enable maximum crop growth. Chemicals which all linger in the atmosphere, seep into our soils, our waterways and rivers, and irreparably damage the environment. 

The use of these chemicals is devastating both to our environment and to our health. 

Further along the production chain, to make soy wax, soybean oil is chemically distilled with hexane (a gasoline by-product that is particularly volatile), bleached with chlorine, deodorized with boric acid (a caustic poison) and then hydrogenated into a solid wax product. The final soy wax product is neither 'pure' nor 'eco-friendly'. 

Many of us have heard the claim that soy's greatest advantage is that it is completely renewable. Soy wax suppliers and makers of soy candles market their soy candles as eco-friendly, renewable, sustainable, carbon neutral; the list goes on and on.

However this is deceptive; all soy for soy candles is commercially farmed using high intensity commercial farming practices described above, with fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and chemicals, and all from genetically modified GMO seeds. The simple truth is that 
highly chemically processed and genetically modified soy products are in no way natural.

What is probably most shocking is that the ever increasing soy bean industry's expansion is without ANY environmental safeguards. Huge soy conglomerates continue to grow their plantations and are displacing small farmers and indigenous people.

Moving forward with what we knew, 5 years ago we made a decision to stop supporting an industry that was associated with the poisoning and deforestation of the planet. We are proud to be the first Singapore brand to introduce to the market a beautiful new natural coconut blend wax for our candle products.

Coconut plantations are considered to be a sustainable 'high yield crop' (1 tree = lots of coconuts!) with natural crop renewal per hectare, which means that land is NOT being cleared to re-plant & produce it season after season (which causes deforestation and the degradation of fertile top soil), so it is both environmentally friendly AND chemical free.

With an amazingly clean, long-lasting burn and superior fragrance throw our coconut wax is organic by nature, and is made using natural processes; first by collecting the coconuts, chopping and shredding the coconut 'meat' and then cold-pressing the shredded coconut to extract the oil which is then hydrogenated to form a beautiful white creamy wax. Our production of coconut wax is free from toxins, GMO’s, the use of pesticides, and deforestation.

We are also proud to say that our fragrances are professionally developed by Master Perfumers, are non-toxic, vegan & cruelty free, and do not contain palm oil. They also adhere to the strict quality standards of the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) for safety and purity.

Yes, our coconut wax candles are more expensive to buy and produce, but it is our belief we are doing the best for our planet, and we are sure our customers will recognise the long-term value also.

And while we don't market TEMPLE as a wholly 'eco-friendly' brand (we are the first to put up our hand for transporting freight on shipping vessels that sail across the globe, which is NOT in the earth's interest at all! We keep this to an absolute minimum by making most products in our Singapore facility), we do try our very best in every aspect of our local manufacturing to be as eco-conscious as possible and are always 100% transparent in our production efforts.

Our aim in sharing what we have learned about the soy industry is purely with the intent of sharing in-depth knowledge for a greater and more truthful collective understanding. As manufacturers, we have a responsibility to apply best practice and share honest industry knowledge so our customers can make their own informed choices.

Frankly, we are fed up with corporations who have the audacity to tell half-truths so they can profit from the destruction of our planet. We believe companies who trade heavily on their 'eco-friendly' claims should be examined thoroughly and be held accountable. 

Hopefully the more accurate knowledge is shared, the more we can all make better, more informed decisions. Finding true 'eco-authenticity' is something we should all be focussed on.

Kendall x

Further reading:

Photo: Contragolpe