Palm oil is the world’s most popular type of vegetable oil, and it’s destroying our rainforests. It’s likely it was in the shampoo or toothpaste you used this morning, or the make-up you put on. It could have been in the bread you toasted, or the butter you put on top. If you had cereal, the milk the cow that came from was probably fattened on palm oil. Even our methods of travel are fuelled by it. Most petrol and diesel have biofuel added to it which comes from palm oil. The laptop or phone you’re reading this blog on? Well, the electricity that is powering it could have been produced from burning oil palm kernels.
At Real Food Grocer, we refuse to work with palm oil in any form and by doing so we save 600M2 of forest every year. So, by shopping with us for your groceries, you’re doing your part to help our planet. Because palm oil can be found in almost everything, including around 50% of products on supermarket shelves, it’s a challenging task. Plus, there is no labelling regulation which requires a declaration of palm oil in a product so we have to work extra hard to keep RFG free from it, but it’s worth it. Unsure of the impact palm oil has on the world? Here are just a few of the major ones…
Palm oil plantations are the largest contributor to deforestation
Palm oil is easy to grow in the tropics, even in difficult soils which has made the production of it increase rapidly over the last few years. The profitability for farmers producing this oil has led to large areas of tropical forests being cleared to make room for oil palm plantations. Global Forest Watch state that Indonesia lost 25.6 million hectares of tree cover between 2001 and 2018. To put that into perspective, that’s an area almost as large as New Zealand!
The habitat of many endangered animals are under threat
The clearing of the tropical forests has had a devastating impact on a huge number of animal and plant species, destroying the habitat for many of our endangered wildlife species – including rhinos, elephants, orangutans and tigers. Even national parks have been impacted. 43% of Tesso Nilo National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia which provided a habitat for the endangered Sumatran Tiger and Sumatran Elephant is now overrun with illegal palm oil plantations.
Producing palm oil has HUGE implications for climate change
The smoke and carbon dioxide that is released into the air when forests burn causes the air to be polluted which contributes massively to climate change. Indonesia is the third-largest global emitter of greenhouse gasses and this is largely due to the volume of carbon dioxide released into the air from forest fires used to clear vegetation to make way for oil palm plantations.
To learn more about the effect palm oil has on our environment and what you can do to help, read on here.
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