Palm oil is the cheapest oil you can find on the international market which makes it the most used one.
Today, palm oil is cultivated on 27 millions of hectares across the world. Just so you know, it represents the surface of New Zealand! 66 millions tons is the annual worldwide production of palm oil with 90% produced in Indonesia and Malaysia.
During the past 25 years, its production exploded leading to a heavy consequence : deforestation of the rainforest for the benefit of palm oil culture.
Did you know for example, that only 70,000 orangutans survived the deforestation? Specialists say that in less than 10 years, they will have all disappeared… Yet, it is not the only endangered species by deforestation. Sumatran tigers and Borneo pygmy elephants are also on the list.
Rainforest deforestation increases greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, the rainforest is burnt to make more space for palm trees. As a consequence, in 2015, Indonesia produced more greenhouse gas than the United States which has a surface area five times bigger than Indonesia.
Did you know that palm oil culture even abuses Human Rights? In its report from November 2016, Amnesty International explains how industrialists use child labour, forced labour and discrimination against women for palm oil culture. Even if Indonesian laws forbid the hiring of minors, it remains a common practice. As for women, they can’t access permanent employment nor social security benefits, such as health insurance. Moreover, all the workers are exposed to air pollution from forest fires and chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides. To give you an example, paraquat, is a toxic pesticide forbidden in Europe but still used by industrialists in the palm oil culture.
Besides, only 5% ofthe rainforest on the Island of Borneo remains untouched, representing more or less 25 square miles (65km²).
Not to mention other problems as evictions or the theft of lands from local communities. Today, 700 land disputes linked to palm oil culture are listed in Indonesia.
We are all concerned !
Make no mistake, rainforest deforestation is an expensive bill that we all pay, consciously or not.
Are you often consuming cereals, biscuits, fries, ice cream, frozen pizza, bread, or using body lotion, make up, candles, washing powder or…. SOAP ?? Of course you are! We all do! And I regret to tell you they all contain palm oil.
of your consumed products contain palm oil
But the worst is yet to come. Biofuels are produced from plants containing oil such as canola, sunflower, soybeans or palm. Now you know which oil is the cheapest one on the market because of its high rate of profitability, which one do you think is the most used for biofuel? Palm oil obviously! But actually it is also because the other oils can’t supply the market demand. 60% of the imported palm oil in Europe is used for biofuels. 1 gallon of biodiesel produces 80% more greenhouse gas than 1 gallon of diesel, you understand
of imported palm oil is used for biofuels
of pollution added with 1 gal of biodiesel compared to 1 gal of diesel
Because of this, a European, for example, consumes 3 gallons (12 litres) of palm oil per year, and most of the time, without even knowing it!
Any good news in all that?
The European parliament has decided to ban palm oil from biofuel by 2021.
But let’s be realistic, decisions are made but can easily be undone above all because Indonesian and Malaysian governments have already stepped up in order to defend their positions.
For consumed products, nothing is planned. But YOU have the real power. As a consumer you can choose to not buy products containing palm oil. Just be vigilant and read the ingredients list.
And avoid processed soap!
I won’t explain here the disastrous hot process soap making but you can read my article “The cold process soap” to know more about it. Yet I will tell you that processed soap contain palm oil because of its price and also because of its hardening natural effect. Even sometimes hand-made cold process soap has palm oil.
So again be vigilant, and read the ingredient list and ban every soap containing “Sodium Palmate”.