Today I am going to talk to you about wax, and our journey to finding the right wax base for our new collection, because there are a lot of different wax bases, and we’ve used most of them.
In 2013, when we launched, we used a classic paraffin wax base. Paraffin is pretty much the most popular wax base, still today. But of course, paraffin is a by-product of the oil industry, and any extraction from beneath the ground can not be replaced. And even though we used the food-grade mineral, paraffin wax, we still felt uncomfortable that we were participating in something that wasn’t sustainable.
So, in 2016, when we introduced the lids on the candles, we also made another change, which was to replace that paraffin wax with a palm wax. A vegetable base that comes from palm oil. Palm oil is the most land-efficient crop on earth. However, there are a number of issues with that crop, not least deforestation and monoculture agriculture. Now, we were aware of the RSPO-certification: Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil. And we chose to use RSPO palm. However, we didn’t realise until later that there were four levels of certification from RSPO, and only two of them guaranteed sustainably-farmed palm oil. We felt uncomfortable, ultimately, to stay with a palm base, even though it had a great burn.
And we chose to move on to a soy wax base. Soy is another major global land crop. However, most of soy is genetically modified. So we had to find a non-GMO soy base. And we were also looking to secure supply from European soy, but we couldn’t guarantee that. So often our soy had to come in from overseas. Which we didn’t really feel totally comfortable about.
Last but not least, and isn’t it always true, that sometimes when you go looking for something you find it on your own doorstep? We came across the wax base that we now use for our Next Generation collection; Swedish rapeseed wax. That is sustainably farmed, traceable, and non-GMO — and the Swedish border, being only about 40km from where I’m currently sitting here in Copenhagen – local as well.
Now, all those wax bases look more or less the same to the untrained eye. All of them burn more or less the same to the expert candlemaker. But there is an incredible degree of difference between where they come from.