[this post was edited on December 4 2020 as it was brought to my attention that Cadbury are in fact a member of the RSPO through their parent company and that, therefore, their products do contain sustainable palm oil. As this information has come to light, the section including the misinformation has been deleted.]
So. Palm oil. It’s controversial. Do you remember the 2018 Iceland advert where Rang Tan told the world about the horrors she faces in her habitat, and the young girl committed to raising awareness for her? The internet was horrified to learn that the habitats of these creatures were being destroyed for consumerism. In the last few years, this has been talked about less and less, and it appears that most people have forgotten about it and moved onto the next big topic that comes along, which in itself isn’t a bad thing, but the reality of the palm oil industry hasn’t subsided.
But is Palm oil bad? No. It’s not. As a product, it’s simply a vegetable oil. In actuality, it’s a very good crop. You can get a large yield from a relatively small area and it grows very fast. The problems arise from how it is cultivated.
You see, in order to create palm oil farms, large scale deforestation takes place, and in the process of doing this, the habitats of many animals are destroyed – including but not limited to the Bornean/Sumatran orangutans in Indonesia. With this, these animals start to become extinct, or face extinction, which would be devastating to the ecosystem.
So should we boycott palm oil products? Also, no. Many countries that cultivate palm oil are developing countries with palm oil as one of their main primary exports, therefore any boycotts of the product would be devastating to the economy of the country and also the people that live there and make their living working on palm oil farms.
So, what should we do?
There is an organisation called the RSPO – Roundtree on Sustainable Palm Oil. This organisation accredits companies that source their palm oil from sustainable farms. Companies that are involved in the scheme include Mars, Nestle (they’re another can of worms, so that’s a post for another time.), Quorn, Tunnocks, Cadbury amongst a bunch of others.
Chester Zoo have created their own Sustainable Palm Oil shopping list that you can download and refer to when you do your weekly shopping, so that you know what you’re buying comes from sustainable brands, protects endangered species and allows those developing countries to continue developing their economies through palm exports.
What are your opinions on palm oil? Or is there anything you want me to delve deeper into explaining?
Until next time, be excellent to each other