Palm oil production is big business. You would be hard pushed to find a household that doesn’t have products containing palm oil. It’s a low-cost resource that can be used in almost everything making it highly sought after by manufacturers globally. The palm trees that bear this valuable oil are found in tropical climates, such as the Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests and other tropical environments. However, to meet the high demand, vast areas of rainforests are being cleared with purpose-made fires to make way for palm oil plantations. These plantations are the leading cause of rainforest deforestation, with the equivalent of 300 football pitches being cleared to make way for tree planting every hour. This has many adverse effects on the climate, environment, biodiversity and the communities living within the forests. The Indonesian rainforest has arguably the richest biodiversity on earth. It is home to numerous plants and wildlife — many of which are on the endangered species list, including orangutans, Sumatran tigers and Bornean rhinos. The destruction of natural habitats deprives the animals of the basis for their existence, causing an irreversible loss of biological diversity. Sadly, many communities living within these forests are losing their homes and livelihoods to palm oil plantations which, in turn, is destroying their traditional way of life. In some cases, these residents are often not even informed that their land is about to become a plantation. It’s been documented that if these people resist the changes to their environment, they are displaced by force. It’s an inhumane way to do business. It’s clear that palm oil production is not sustainable if our rainforests are to survive for future generations to benefit from them. So, we hope you agree with us at the Steam Studio; we must all act now and do our bit to protect the rainforests from further deforestation and destruction.


Are Big Brands Doing Their Bit to Help Sustainable Palm Oil Production?

As we mentioned earlier, palm oil is such an integral ingredient in everything we buy, from the food we eat to the cosmetics we use and the fuel we put in our vehicles. We would be hard pushed to eliminate it from our lives completely. Yet, with all these reasons to stop unsustainable deforestation, what are big brands doing in the fight to help save our rainforests? Some brands like Iceland have pledged not to use palm oil in any of their own products. Others, such as M&S and Waitrose have promised they will only sell products containing palm oils from responsibly sourced plantations (RSPO certified). It’s not just supermarkets either. Some manufacturers, including Ryvita, Walbertons and Walkers, are also proudly palm oil-free. The palm oil used in their products comes from independently audited plants that have passed a series of stringent checks to ensure no illegal or environmentally damaging logging is taking place. They have fair policies to work with communities and to protect local habits. However, there is a long way to go in the fight against illegal and destructive palm oil production. We believe that making sure we, as consumers, only buy products where the ingredients have been sustainably sourced is the first step to saving the rainforests and protecting our planet.

Recommended Posts