Tuesday 3 March 2020


Reader Katy writes about the damage palm oil is doing to our planet... and why we should all care about it!

Katy says:
What is palm oil? It's an edible vegetable oil made from the fruit of an oil palm tree, and the truth is you probably consume it in several ways on a daily basis. It’s in everything from pizza, doughnuts and chocolate to deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and even lipstick! WWF (The World Wide Fund for Nature) claims that almost half of all supermarket products contain it. It is used as animal feed and bio-fuel in many parts of the world too. So what's the problem? Palm oil is one of the main reasons for the deforestation of our planet's vast, beautiful rainforests. It destroys the habitats of  endangered species such as the orang-utan and pygmy-elephant. The farming of palm oil produces many greenhouse gases and is a big contributor to climate change.

Efforts are being made to limit the damage palm oil farming creates, with demands that companies must not clear any primary forest, must check how much carbon they are emitting, treat workers fairly, and actively create wildlife zones... but only a few producers follow the guidelines. It has been claimed that palm oil supplies 35% of the world’s vegetable oil demand on just 10% of the land, so if produced sustainably, it is actually very efficient. Perhaps true, but does this justify our use of palm oil? It's time to start asking what is more important to us - our environment and the habitats of endangered animals or products like supernoodles and peanut butter? 

What CAN we do to help? Supermarket brand Iceland have issued a complete ban on palm oil use in their own-brand products until more evidence is shown that 'sustainable' means no deforestation, and some brands of peanut butter and chocolate have stopped including it in their products. Be aware and raise awareness… tell your friends, tell your family, read labels, and cut back on junk food as this is often where palm oil lurks - bake your own treats, it's much more fun! If you're buying something with palm oil in it make sure it has the 'sustainably produced' label. 

If you discover palm oil in a favourite product, write to the manufacturer to ask if they can drop the palm oil or at least switch to sustainably produced. If we refuse to buy it, companies will stop using it... and the rainforests and the orang-utans may yet survive.

Cathy says:
We try not to buy products containing palm oil... it really is a huge cause of rainforest destruction and destroys the habitat of orang-utans, so well done to Katy for flagging this up. What do YOU care about? Want to write a blog post about it? COMMENT BELOW with your suggestions!

1 comment:

  1. I read about this on Greenpeace's website, it's absolutely awful! Those poor animals :(



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