Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil which has a very high content of saturated fat. It is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. Oil palms originated in West Africa, but can flourish wherever heat and rainfall are abundant. Today, almost all palm oil is produced in, and exported from, Indonesia and Malaysia; but most of the time not using sustainable measures.
Unsustainable Palm Oil is responsible for thousands of kilometers of pristine rainforest that is slashed and burned in order to make way for oil palm plantations. Many orangutans and other animals are killed in the process, for the production of palm oil used in many of our everyday foods and products. This large-scale deforestation is pushing orangutans to extinction, along with many other native species of Borneo and Sumatra.
(In the photo above is slashed and burned rainforest in order to make way for a Palm Oil Plantation)
Palm oil is an extremely popular vegetable oil amongst manufacturers. It is used in over 50% of products, including: baked goods, confectionery, cosmetics, body products and cleaning agents. But in many countries, there is no law on the mandatory labeling of palm oil.
Consequently, companies will usually hide palm oil under the name of 'vegetable oil', or over 170 other names! Palm oil has the benefit of the highest yield per hectare among vegetable oil-yielding crops, meaning that less land is required for production. It also requires comparatively lower amounts of inputs such as fertilizer, fuel and pesticides. If they produce Palm Oil sustainability than it would be the perfect crop. Less
Land Required for Production= Less land that needs to be destroyed.
One option for companies is 'sustainable palm oil'. That is sourced through the RSPO... Click Here To Learn About The RSPO
However; even if sustainable palm oil was proven to actually be 'sustainable', why wouldn't all companies use it? Consider two chocolate bars. They both contain palm oil. One uses palm oil sourced from a sustainable plantation, the other uses palm oil from plantations associated with animal genocide and catastrophic deforestation. Which one would you buy? The answer may be obvious to you, but for the global corporate giants of this world, it's a different story.
"If the consumer says, "I am not buying any chocolate bar that contains palm oil, sustainable or not", then neither the grower nor the seller will have any reason to put in the extra work and money for the sustainable choice. This is why I say we must communicate that we want sustainable palm oil in the products that use palm oil. As for the corporate giants, they will do it if the consumer favors it".-Michelle Desilets Executive Director- Orangutan Land Trust
We need palm oil in today's society. Palm oil is a key ingredient in many foods and body products. But what about 30 years ago? Back then, palm oil wasn't used in nearly as many products as today, in fact, it was almost non-existent in much of the Western-world. So why does there need to be such a high demand for it in the modern world? To sum it up; Palm Oil is cheap, provides many jobs, and requires less land to be produced.