On Monday, Young Living Essential Oils pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally trafficking oils from endangered plants from June 2010 to October 2014. They were ordered to $760,000 in fines. (The investigation, which was conducted by several agencies, also revealed other violations. To see a full list, click here.)


During the years of 2010 to 2014, several company employees and contractors harvested, transported, and distilled rosewood (Aniba roseaodora or Brazilian rosewood)1 in Peru and imported some of the oil into the US through Ecuador, even though Young Living didn’t have valid authorization from the Peruvian government to do so.


In addition to the fees, The Department of Justice is requiring the company to implement a “corporate compliance plan, audits, and the publication of statements regarding its convictions.” 2

Young Living Essential Oils had this to say about the outcome:3

“Young Living has rigorous sourcing standards to uphold as responsible stewards of the earth. However, the company didn’t live up to our standards in this instance. For that, we apologize and promise to do better. We are always in a state of continuous improvement, constantly examining and improving our processes as the company grows, so we avoid future mistakes and adhere to the high standards we’ve set across the entire organization.

In late 2014, our new management team became aware of a situation that was identified by our compliance program in place at the time. We immediately conducted our own investigation with assistance from outside counsel and voluntarily disclosed to the government in 2015 once this investigation was completed. This situation was a sourcing issue and had nothing to do with product quality.

As part of Young Living’s commitment to comply with applicable laws and regulations wherever it does business, the company has developed a new comprehensive Lacey Act Compliance Program to help ensure that plant products come from legal and sustainable sources. Young Living is the first and only essential oils company to have a comprehensive Lacey Act-specific compliance program that has been reviewed and accepted by the government.

Young Living understands that it has a greater responsibility to help ensure quality and continuous improvement in leading the essential oils movement. As part of this responsibility, new programs have been developed that form the foundation of our new Seed to Seal pillars— Sourcing, Science, and Standards.”


Sources and References

  1. Good for Utah, September 22, 2017.
  2. Good for Utah, September 22, 2017.
  3. Good for Utah, September 22, 2017.