Recognize, avoid and combat palm oil
Here are some tips to turn around the tables and make an impact with our actions.
How does the ecosystem get affected?
Indonesia and Malaysia make up over 85% of global supply but there are 42 other countries that also produce palm oil. Palm oil plantations currently cover more than 27 million hectares of the Earth’s surface, and in order to create these planctations deforestation and habitat destruction had to be done. Palm oil is used in biofuels but also in day-to-day products as it is refined, distilled, filtered and blended to create an array of solid and liquid products that make your soap foam, detergent, your lipstick, pizza, noodles, packaged bread, chocolate and biofuels, among many others.
Rainforests are drained to enable the establishment of palm oil plantations. As they dry, their peat filled soils release large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that has a global warming impact 23 times that of CO2. It has recently been calculated that 25% of all global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels come from this rainforest destruction.
The usage of Palm oil has environmental, social and health impact. Currently, there are only 70,000 orangutans still roam the forests of Southeast Asia, endangered species such as the orangutan, Borneo elephant and Sumatran tiger are being pushed closer to extinction. On the other hand, EU’s biofuels policy is deceiving itself by asserting that biofuels are carbon neutral. Palm oil-based biofuels actually have three times the climate impact of traditional fossil fuels. Due to the increase of the global demand for palm oil, there are many kind of conflicts from land rights to human rights. As the growth of workforce is needed, there is an increased risk of labour exploitation, including forced and child labour. human rights violations are everyday occurrences.
As consumers, we might be unmidful of these broader issues because of the lack of transparency and policies. Yet our daily palm oil consumption also impacts our health: refined palm oil contains large amounts of harmful fatty acid esters that are known to damage DNA and cause cancer.
Rethink your consumption habits and make a real impact. Every action counts.
We encourage you to follow these tips and act towards the production of palm oil based in our consumption:
- Read the labels
Companies must be transparent in their use and display the source of the palm oil. As of December 2014, labeling regulations in the EU require food products to clearly indicate that they contain palm oil. However, in the case of non-food items such as cosmetics and cleaning products, a wide range of chemical names may still be used to hide the use of palm oil. A quick check in our Viridis app and you will find out the best alternatives.
- Make your own home-cooked meals
Using fresh ingredients will be more healthy as the palm oil is used in processed foods. You can consider using sunflower or olive oil instead.
- Walk to work
Walking is an excellent exercise, whenever you can leave your car at home, walk, ride a bicycle or use public transport.
- Speak up
Public pressure and increased awareness of the problem have had positive results. Contact the company and ask them to stop using palm oil and use domestic oils.
- Share the knowledge
Get informed and help others to increase the awareness on this issue. Big Business and governments would like us to believe that biofuels are good for the climate and that oil palm plantations are sustainable. Spread the word, share this information with your family and friends and encourage them to rethink their consumption habits. Every action counts.