The Myths and Facts About Palm Oil
The older I get, the more aware I am of my eating habits. While trying to transition into a healthier lifestyle, I understand it’s not just about what I’m eating but where and how my foods are grown.
Since I like to cook a lot and hold dinner parties, the same mindset goes into what I’m feeding my family, friends, and guests.
When I go grocery shopping things I tend to look for are labels — labels to distinguish things like is it organic, free range, locally-sourced and such. Lately, I’ve been more cautious about palm oil too … now you may wonder what is palm oil and where does it come from?
If you’ve heard of palm oil, you’ve probably heard it’s bad for the environment. But the truth is it doesn’t have to be. Places like Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, RSPO, are fighting hard for you and I to create a more sustainable friendly environment for all humans, animals, and lands.
The RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from the seven sectors of the palm oil industry – oil palm producers; processors or traders; consumer goods manufacturers; retailers; banks and investors; and environmental or social non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.
Fact: Palm oil ranks among the U.S. Department of Labor’s top four worst industries for forced and child labor.
A lot of items in your household contain palm oil. Foods which include ice cream, cookies, and noodles to even household items like lipstick, shampoo and soap. But the question is — is it good for you? Well, there are two types of palm oil. The best palm oil is the sustainable ones. Here’s how you can tell the difference:
I think it is so important that we come up with a solution that is responsible. Educating people about this is key, and this is exactly what RSPO is doing.
➀ Palm oil is high in saturated fat. One tablespoon of palm oil contains 55 percent of the daily recommendation of saturated fat.
➁ Up to 300 football fields of forest are cleared every HOUR to make room for palm plantations.
➂ In the past 10 years, the orangutan population has decreased by 50 percent as the result of habitat loss from forest clearing for palm plantations.
➃ There are only 6,300 Sumatran orangutans left. It is estimated that 1,000 orangutans are killed a year, a major factor in these deaths being forest clearing for palm production. In 2006, at least 1,500 orangutans were clubbed to death by palm workers.
➄ In Indonesia, the palm oil industry is responsible for about 5,000 land and human rights conflicts. Nearly 45 million people live in the forests of Indonesia. In 2011, Wilmar (one of the world’s largest palm oil producers) bulldozers ransacked an entire village, destroying 40 homes to clear 40,000 hectares of land for a palm plantation.
What’s the solution? Well, it starts at home and within — with this information I’m hoping you’ll be more conscious about your grocery list and what it is you’re really putting into your body. RSPO has guides to help you better understand where your palm oil is coming from and wether or not it’s sustainable.
The production of ͚bad͛ palm oil is rapidly destroying virgin rainforests and ecosystems and causing air pollution to rise and putting many species at risk of extinction. If grown sustainably, ͚good͛ palm oil can benefit local communities with fair working conditions and help protect valuable species and forests.
Together — with the right information — we can make a difference that will save the lives and lands of many ♥ There is good and bad palm oil — We have a choice and RSPO is here to guide us through!
What You Can Do:
Share this information.
Learn how to wean yourself off palm oil.
Look for palm oil alternatives.
Tell the brands you buy to commit to sustainable palm oil.