Thursday, 13 March 2014

Say no to palm oil


Our demand for palm oil is responsible for massive deforestation and the destruction of the wildlife that inhabits those areas. And the demand is doubling every few years. It's a topic we should all know about and act on. Further information:
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that sustainable palm oil is a perfect answer - the RSPO has been criticised for being ineffective or a sop to companies like Nestle and Unilever, aimed more at fobbing off consumer pressure than fixing the problems (e.g. see here, here, and here). Even with certification the chances are the land was still rainforest originally.

Read the ingredients, boycott products with palm oil in, and tell the companies why you've done that. Many companies that use palm oil try to disguise it as "vegetable oil" in an attempt to trick ethical consumers into buying their products - let them know that you aren't happy with these attempts at deception. Consumer pressure works. Share the information. Get involved with campaigns (e.g. some of the links above). Do we really need to destroy rainforests just so we can have a different ingredient in Morrison's crackers? See this other advice about what to do. Also remember that when you make your own food, rather than buying overly-processed products from supermarkets, you know exactly what goes into it! You also have more control then over where the ingredients come from, and can use local ones more easily.

Also: this petition.

At the end of the day the western nations are creating an unsustainable demand because we have too many people consuming too many products with too-high an environmental impact. Let's make an effort to improve things.

PS: You can even make your own palm-oil-free spreads! (Recipe 1; recipe 2). If we can do it then big companies have no excuse.
PPS: The excellent Unicorn Grocery's wrote to all companies asking them to reduce or replace (often unnecessary) palm oil in their products. In the interim they will stock products that have organic and RSPO palm oil e.g. from Columbia. Their policy is available online (bottom right corner).

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your readers may want to know that the EU passed new legislation which means that for all food labels, the 'vegetable oil' will have to be specified. This comes into effect on 31 Dec 2014.
See http://www.sustainablepalmoil.org/consumers-retailers/retailers/legislation-and-voluntary-commitments/
and also this news story http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/05/palmoil-labelling-idUSL6N0BWI7W20130305

CIN said...

Many thanks for the additional information!