Palm oil is in our food, cleaning products and fuel. But it's destroying rainforest and contributing to climate change. Sustainable certification schemes have been set up, but campaigners increasingly question whether they work
It's impossible to get away from palm oil. Over the last few days you have eaten it, rubbed it into your skin, put it in your car or fed it to your pets. It is found in a staggering array of household products, including processed food, cosmetics, soap and shampoos, and it's a key ingredient in lubricants, paints, pesticides and biofuels. Yet palm oil is also responsible for some of the most destructive deforestation of current times, and its production is contributing to climate change.
Demand for palm oil has doubled in the last decade, and is predicted to double again by 2020, driven by consumer demand for the foodstuffs, cosmetics and fuels derived from the versatile lipid. But to supply this demand, huge areas of rainforest in Malaysia and Indonesia are being cleared to make way for palm oil plantations, at a rate of over two million hectares a year, according to Friends of the Earth. These rainforests are the last remaining habitat of endangered animals such as the Sumatran tiger, rhinocerous and orang-utan. What's more, much of this rainforest is located on peat land - a natural carbon sink that contains huge reserves of greenhouse gases. Palm oil growers, by razing the forest canopy and draining the peat soil, inadvertently release this stored carbon into the atmosphere. Greenpeace has warned that the destruction of Indonesian peatlands in Riau province alone could release 14.6 gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere - equivalent to one year's total global emissions. Demand for palm oil is only accelerating this process, and it shows no sign of stopping.... ....read more from the link above
So why is Alicia a spokesperson for Juice Beauty? They use palm oil AND won't divulge its source. Questions via email sent to them go unanswered. I adore Alicia and all she stands for, but she blew it on this one, at least until JB becomes more transparent.
Ditto for earth balance buttery spread!
By the way...does anyone know if coconut oil has the same devastating effects on the rainforests? I would think it does, but it doesnt get as much press as palm oil.
It is truely heartbreaking to learn how orangutans in Borneo may no longer exist in the wild in as little as 10 years, mostly due to habitat loss because of palm oil plantations.
Earth balance's marketing department are working overtime claiming sustaiable sources, bottom line is there is so much corruption over there it is a very blurry line. I'm pretty sure coconut oil doesn't have these kind of impacts.
I can't wait for my upcoming volunteer trip to Borneo to help build a rescue center for orangutans. Plan to take a ton of photos and document it all.
Thanks for all the great info Wildflower! Seeing rainforest destruction first hand is an eye opening experience. I saw it in Costa Rica a few months ago. I'm a frog lover, and many species of frogs are extinct and endangered due to oil palm plantations. It's very sad. I do my best to avoid palm oil, but that first article is right...it's in so many products! A whole foods diet makes it easier to avoid that stuff. Also making your own cleaning and beauty products-I'm a big fan of the Crunchy Betty blog for that!
Have a wonderful trip to Borneo, would love to hear about it when you get back!
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