Say No to Palm Oil
What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil extracted from the palm fruit which is grown on the African oil palm tree. Palm oil is grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America and South America, it is inexpensive and mass-produced and is known for its versatility.
Why is Palm Oil bad for the environment?
Palm oil is an environmental disaster, it is a major cause of deforestation, habitat degradation and animal cruelty, specifically for orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos. Roads constructed to allow palm oil plantation workers and equipment access to the forest increase accessibility to these areas for poachers who are looking for valuable animals, allowing them easy access to an area to sit and wait for their target where previously they may have had to trek through inaccessible areas of forest.
One football pitch of rainforest is destroyed every 25 seconds to make way for Palm Oil plantations, this large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction. Wildlife have been found buried alive, killed from machete attacks, guns and other weaponry. An estimated 1000-5000 orangutans are killed each year with over 90% of their habitat destroyed, they could soon become extinct in the wild. The orangutan plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem. They spread rainforest seeds in Indonesia, many of which can only germinate once passed through the gut of an orangutan, making this primate is essential for the existence of the forest.
Deforestation for palm oil production is also linked to climate change, the removal of the native forests often involves burning invaluable timber and forest undergrowth, which emits immense quantities of smoke into the atmosphere making Indonesia the third highest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.
The palm oil industry has also been linked to major human rights violations in the countries where it is produced, including child labour in remote areas of Indonesia and Malaysia. With the rainforest land that the local people depend on being destroyed, communities are finding themselves with no choice but to become plantation workers. They work in poor and degrading conditions for very low income.
What products contain Palm Oil?
Palm oil is present in about half of all packaged products sold in supermarkets, from bread, biscuits, cereal and confectionery, to shampoo, soap, cosmetics, cleaning agents and toothpaste. Supermarket chain Iceland have pledged that by the end of 2018, 100% of the supermarket’s own brand food lines will contain no palm oil, lets hope other companies and supermarkets will follow.