Tiger Balm: Soothes Your Aches But Hurts the Environment


Taylor Ford

Excuse me. What?

August 18, 2021

I cannot emphasize this enough. WE. WANT. TRANSPARENCY! Why am I not surprised to see yet another company refuse to tell us anything about how they make their products.

Contrary to the name, Tiger Balm is not made out of tigers but instead consists of multiple herbs that aid in pain relief.

Tiger Balm’s parent company, Haw Par, tells us absolutely nothing about where they source their ingredients, how the product is made, or how their workers are treated. Big shocker there.

Unlike other companies I have come across, Haw Par does have some good features (by "some" I mean two). They use glass instead of plastic (lesser of two evils) for their packaging, and they are Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified. However, these “good features” still have some downsides.

Glass packaging can be reused and recycled, yet Haw Par makes no effort to create an up-cycling program for this. As for the GMP certification, Haw Par has manufacturing plants in Malaysia and China. According to The Ethical Trading Initiative, this makes it difficult to ensure labor standards are adhered to due to the risks faced by low-skilled migrant workers. Kinda makes that GMP certification seem insignificant.

It’s clear Haw Par does not care about sustainability with their vague CSRs and lack of information on their labor practices. It’s time for Haw Par to start making clear sustainability initiatives and being more transparent about their products!

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