Say goodbye to Palm Oil!

Used in many consumer goods, Palm oil is one of the most popular vegetable oils used today. It is cheap, but comes at a tremendous cost to the environment. It has been linked to many environmental, animal, and human rights violations yet many companies continue to use it in everything from laundry detergent to food to beauty products.

Some big companies are making an effort to stop their Palm Oil usage, or have promised to source all their palm oil from certified, sustainable sources over the next few years. While these initiatives are great and could effect real change in the destructive palm oil industry, there is not enough happening to save these precious forests, home to species such as the orangutan, which are losing their habitat at a rate of 300 football fields an hour.

Until there is evidence that real change has been made to ensure all palm oil is sustainably sourced, it is a good idea to avoid buy products that contain palm oil all together, and instead invest in palm oil free products, such as Aware Environmental’s entire range of cleaning and household products.

Here are some reasons why:

Loss of culture and human rights

Among the 3.7 million people work in the palm oil industry, thousands are child laborers forced to work, pulled into the industry through debt bondage or taken by human traffickers.

As well as this, Indigenous people in these areas are being pushed off ancestral land to make way for plantations. Many of these families still do not have the legal documents that would grant them and their children basic rights.

Feared endangerment of the Orangutan

Palm oil deforestation has contributed to cutting Bornean orangutan populations in half since the 1980’s, down to 54,000, according to environmental groups. At this rate, some predict these animals could be extinct within a matter of years. Yep, that’s why we’ve got orangutans on our website.

The Orangutan Conservancy estimates that orangutans have lost over 80 percent of their natural habitat in the last 20 years. Check out the Orangutan Conservancy website to find out how you can help.

Destruction of rainforest

The expansion of palm oil has introduced humans into parts of the rainforest that had been previously untouched for hundreds of years. The ongoing destruction of these rainforests continues to threaten the habitat of our endangered orangutans and many other species that call these forests home, such as tigers, rhinos and elephants.

Pollution

A joint study published in October 2012 by Stanford University and Yale University found that land-clearing operations for plantations in Borneo emitted more than 140 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2010 alone, equal to annual emissions from about 28 million vehicles.

Palm oil is bad for you

Turns out, palm oil is bad for you too. A study that followed people who ate a diet rich in palm oil for five weeks saw an increase in their LDL cholesterol levels – very similar to what occurs when people consume trans fats, which increase our risk of heart disease by increasing the “bad” cholesterol, while also lowering the “good” cholesterol in our blood.

Is it really worth it?
This palm oil industry brings billions of dollars in revenue to the world’s top producers, Indonesia and Malaysia. But at the expense of one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas and given the long-term social costs, you have to ask yourself: is it all really worth it?
Always check the back of pack details. Support products that are palm oil free.

For more information about palm oil check out our palm oil free page.