Although the main ingredient seems to be lanolin oil, the cleaning agents are not specified, which is quite shady. Ideally Rawlings would include a full ingredient list instead of saying “advanced formula.” I would definitely recommend just using lanolin oil to condition gloves instead of the Rawlings Glove Oil. To initially break in the glove, I would recommend using a steam machine to eliminate the plastic from the bottle also. The additional cleaning agents that are in the “advanced formula” are not too necessary. Having a dirty glove is part of the game and adds charm.
The main ingredient in glove oil is lanolin oil, which comes from sheep wool. It is not suspected to be an environmental toxin, and is often used on dry skin. The glove oil also has other ingredients that clean it and protect it from absorbing moisture and dirt. However, the ingredient list is not specified, so I was not able to find its environmental impact. Rawlings' support did not respond to my request to provide the materials list. It is highly unlikely that the cleaning agents are environmentally friendly. If they were, Rawlings would tout this information in order to gain favor. Additionally, the bottle is plastic and is unlikely to ever be recycled.
The extraction of the lanolin oil involves a centrifuge isolating the oil from sheep’s wool, so it does not harm the sheep in this part. However, lanolin has become an increasingly popular commodity, appearing in cosmetics, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, and our glove oil. This has led to the mass production of lanolin and procedures that are inhumane and unethical in order to maximize profit. Prior to slaughter, sheep often die from heatstroke, heart attacks, dehydration, overcrowding, and stress related conditions along the way. From an early age, lambs get their tails chopped off, ears punched and males are castrated without any anesthetics. A surgical process called mulesing is performed on the sheep in order to prevent bowflies, which can cause a reduction in the amount of harvestable wool. However, this process is very painful to the sheep and can be just as harmful if not worse than the bowflies. The lanolin extraction itself does not harm the sheep, but the lives of the sheep whose wool is harvested are full of pain.
Rawlings is not very transparent about their labor practices. The original factory in America no longer runs, and labor has been outsourced to countries with lower labor standards. Rawlings has a long code of conduct, but nothing to prove that it actually follows it. It states they will be transparent about their labor practices and that their supply chain is free of human rights violations. However, the factory locations of Rawlings are not specified. If Rawlings really wanted to be transparent they would provide the factory locations and information about the factory’s code of conduct.