The issue with palm oil and why you should care

Young orangutan (face like a surprised coconut) by Ian Wood
Image courtesy: Orangutan Foundation

On October 3, 3BLMedia and (a site I write for now and again) will be hosting a Twitter chat on #PeopleBehindPalmOil, at 5pm Singapore time/1pm Dubai Time/10am UK time. On the chat will be a representative from Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), one of the largest palm oil plantation companies in the world; Nestle, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

During the one-hour chat, they will talk about what you should consider when buying products with palm oil, and how they are working with suppliers to ensure they are more sustainable, and their opinion on the future of the industry.

Why should you care?

Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil on the planet. Although you may not cook with it, it can be found in chocolate, bread, crisps, instant noodles, soaps, lipstick, and shampoo, among many other items. It is a super productive and efficient crop that offers a much greater yield at a lower cost of production compared to other vegetable oils.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. This rainforest is the habitat of elephants, tigers, and orangutans whose existence is threatened because of this large-scale deforestation. If things don’t change, the orangutan faces possible extinction within the next 5 to 10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years.

The good news is that companies are moving towards sustainable sourcing of palm oil, and the Twitter chat will address how they are doing so by working on transparency, traceability and sustainability of palm oil.

How can you start with something:
• Educate yourself about the palm oil issue, here
• Learn more and be part of the conversation on the Twitter chat #PeopleBehindPalmOil on October 3 – Facebook RSVP for your calendar here.
• When buying products that consist palm oil is check for the RSPO Label (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), that certifies that the palm oil was produced responsibly; or look for the Green Palm Label that indicates it is a product in support of the transition to certified palm oil.




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