The activist cosmetics brand Lush will re-launch their #SOSsumatra campaign tomorrow (Friday) - working with the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) and its local partner on the ground, the Orangutan Information Centre (OIC).
Lush aim to raise awareness about deforestation, as well as helping SOS and OIC to purchase 50 hectares of palm plantation and restore it back to native forest.
Lush first ran a #SOSsumatra campaign in November 2017, raising £126,014. This made it possible for SOS and OIC to purchase and restore an initial 50 hectares of palm plantation. This year SOS is fundraising to buy another piece of land.
Helen Buckland, director of SOS, said: "Last year's sales of the Orangutan Soap enabled us to buy a 50 hectare plot of land, used as an oil palm plantation, on the edge of the Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra.
"Work is well underway in re-greening this land, with the oil palms having been removed and rainforest tree seedlings being nurtured and planted. Within a few short years, this area will once again become lush, vibrant habitat for orangutans and so many other species.
"We recently learned of another opportunity to purchase a really key strip of land a little further to the south, also on the edge of the Leuser Ecosystem. This land, at a site called Cinta Raja, is currently a weak spot on the border of the national park, where human-wildlife conflict, poaching and incursions into the forest are rife.
"As before, this land is also currently managed as an oil palm plantation, and we intend to reclaim and restore it to its former natural glory. Our green-fingered restoration experts in Sumatra will turn this biological desert from a conflict hotspot to a wildlife haven.
"Removing the oil palms and replanting the forest will encourage orangutans and other wildlife to return, extending their habitat from the neighbouring national park. Sales from the Orangutan Soap this year will enable us to create a safe and secure buffer zone, which means a whole tranche of pristine forest can be protected forever."
To help raise the funds, Lush has created 14,600 Orangutan soaps to sell in their European stores and online. Shoppers can also find them online in North America. Every penny of each Orangutan soap sold for £8.25 - except the VAT - will go towards this cause and help claim back land for wild orangutans.
A spokesperson for Lush said: "With only 14,600 being made, this orange and patchouli oil soap, with Sumatran extra virgin coconut oil, is as precious as the primate it is helping protect. Make sure to get yours while you can, because once they're gone they are gone ... much like the orangutans of the Sumatran forest."
#LushLabs is also releasing a limited edition shampoo bar: SOS (£8.50) from today (Thursday). All proceeds (minus VAT) from this palm-oil free shampoo bar will go towards the same cause.
The spokesperson added: "If you don't manage to get your hands on these limited edition products, don't worry - you can still help the campaign! Simply download the Lush Labs app and share an image of our augmented reality orangutan on your social channels, using the hashtag #SOSsumatra ... their forest is disappearing, so where are they supposed to go now?"
Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from Lush cosmetics.