It is a type of vegetable oil derived from palm oil fruit. For the sake of consistency, I will focus on cases across Indonesia. 218. 1. Palm oil has been determined to be the most efficient crop on Earth and is approximately 4-10 times more resource-efficient than other plant oils such as soy, rapeseed, sunflower, or coconut (Nomanbhay et al., 2017). Peatlands act like sponges for carbon dioxide, soaking up and storing large quantities of CO2 and their waterlogged low oxygen environments. Jelsma, I., Schoneveld, G. C., Zoomers, A., & van Westen, A. C. M. (2017). To get the same amount of alternative oils like soybean or coconut oil you would need anything between 4 and 10 times more land, which would just shift the problem to other parts of the world and … Palmöl (auch: Palmfett) wird aus dem Fruchtfleisch der Palmfrüchte gewonnen. Land Use Policy (Vol. Because when done right, oil palms can yield the highest amount of oil per acre of land, and if Western countries drastically decrease their demand for palm oil, that could bring a harsh disaster for many now reliant on a Western thirst for the oil. Retrieved from https://ipad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2013/06/indonesia/, Vidal, J. Commodity Intelligence Report INDONESIA: Palm Oil Expansion Unaffected by Forest Moratorium. The ubiquity of palm oil has become such a hot button issue that the European Union decided to ban subsidies of palm oil and biofuels by 2020. 8 things to know about palm oil. This essay will discuss arguments from both sides of this debate in order to conclude how to ethically respond to the issues surrounding palm oil. Global production of and demand for palm oil is increasing rapidly. (2019). Instead, it must be revolutionized towards sustainability. Palm oil is one of the categories on which we base our company and product ratings, and from unsustainable deforestation to animal rights to human exploitation, the palm oil industry seems to be a mess. Subscribe for fortnightly guides to ethical living and news on the best new ethical brands . Their solution was biofuels, chief of which was palm oil. Palm oil is an important food in Asia. Plantation workers and local people can rarely grow food crops under monocropping conditions, making it impossible for them to rely on sustenance farming or be food-independent and forcing them instead to shop at supermarkets (Sinaga, 2013). Why palm oil boycotts are not as helpful as they might seem (WWF)5. Known for the oil its fruits produce, oil palms are consuming the countryside and rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia at a shocking pace. And it’s this act of rapidly terraforming forest land into neat rows of oil palms that has led to a backlash against palm oil products. Conflict Palm Oil is found in roughly half of all packaged products sold in U.S. grocery stores. One might argue that the prevalence of palm oil in the diets of impoverished people around the world helps to lower overall healthcare costs for families who otherwise might be at a higher risk of heart diseases or cholesterol issues. Through a medley of small land holders and large corporations, rural land has been transformed into an oil palm monocropping factory. The Trump administration will halt imports of palm oil from Malaysia over findings of forced labor abuses at the plantations of one of the country's top producers. © 2019 ethical.net | operated by Centre for Applied Ethics Ltd. | 18 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL, London, UK   |. Palm oil is an incredibly efficient crop, producing more oil per land area than any other equivalent vegetable oil crop. The Devastating Effects Of The World’s Palm Oil Addiction (Journeyman Pictures via YouTube) 2. It also is considered a healthier alternative to hydrogenated oils or animal fats that contain trans fats, associated with heart disease, and increases in unhealthy cholesterol (Shimizu & Desrochers, 2012). While palm oil often ends up in products consumed mostly in the US and Europe, the story of palm oil’s environmental devastation lies rooted in Indonesia and Malaysia. We only use cookies to optimise site functionality and analytics. (2020, January 17). Others deem palm oil as essential to our markets and way of life. Additionally, palm oil is one of the most critically important crops for Southeast Asian emerging economies (Koh & Wilcove, 2007). Even consumers who are informed of the ethical issues surrounding traditional palm production are often unaware that sustainably produced palm oil exists (Nastu, 2017). The result was some 5,000 human rights violations, 22 deaths, and hundreds of more injuries (Vidal, 2013). (2016). 44. If that weren’t enough, palm oil is produced using almost exclusively monoculture farming techniques, which are known to cause of a handful of environmental degradation issues such as the damaging of ecosystem resiliency, high levels of pollution, agricultural run-off contaminating waterways and bleaching coral reefs, heightening greenhouse gas levels, and the catalyzing of numerous irreversible feedback loops which exacerbate climate-change issues (Bronk & Wade, 2016). Among the top countries in the world for palm oil consumption are Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and the Philippines, all of which are considered to be developing nations according to the UN Human Development Report (2019). by Two Blokes with a Postie. The benefits that workers receive through employment are comparably scarce, often being as meek and nutritionally insufficient as “subsistence support” in the form of rice rewarded at “15 kilograms/month to a worker, with an additional 9 kilograms/month for his wife, as well as 7.5 kilograms/month for each child to a maximum of 3 children” (Sinaga, 2013). Palm Oil. On a similar note, the working conditions of those in the palm sector have been repeatedly put under ethical scrutiny. Yet, as a result of palm agriculture and correlated deforestation, scientists warn that “many of Indonesia’s species could be extinct in the wild within 20–30 years. Combined, these two countries satisfy 90% of the global demand for palm oil. Cadbury chocolate must end their “irresponsible” use of palm oil which is “destroying” the planet, the founder’s great grandson has said. This video is unavailable. ✔️ However, extracting ourselves from this process is a complicated matter that can exact negative consequences on independent growers and wage laborers now dependent on the Southeast Asian palm oil production industry. Palm oil is a very productive crop. Palm Oil Mill Plant Flow Chart Introduction: 1.Palm oil mil process of bunch reception: as palm fruit unloading, cleaning, storage platform during palm oil mill processing, all hydraulic segmented discharge. However, this hypothetical solution is founded on a lack of understanding of the efficiency of palm production compared to alternative oils and is based on the assumption that palm production is comparatively inefficient. Palm oil: The pros and cons of a controversial commodity. By banning or boycotting palm oil, more expensive and less healthy oils may be the only oils still available to the people most in need of nutrient-rich foods, potentially leaving many food-insecure people even more malnourished than before, with an increased need for healthcare services, and with fewer financial resources to access those services. Which Everyday Products Contain Palm Oil? The point here is this: Palm oil production is indeed tied to environmentally harmful practices like clear cutting rainforests and draining and burning peatlands. Pushing companies to only buy certified sustainable palm oil is one clear way of doing this. Considering that around 30% of palm production is carried out by independent smallholder farms, one answer might also lie in working with these smallholder farms to introduce polyculture methods, mitigating many of the environmental and social impacts associated with monoculture by working from the bottom-up to change the culture of palm farming (Jelsma et al., 2017). The result is children who are physically wasted and stunted, families unqualified to perform higher-paying skilled work, increased gender inequality, and laborers who are prone to disability and/or the chronic health effects of intense labor through developmental stages (Sood, 2010; Sinaga, 2013; Stotts, n.d.). In regard to socio-economic wellbeing, some scientists insist that palm production is the cause of widespread and severe displacement of impacted communities. On its own, the dramatic deforestation funded by palm oil is expected to cause a spike in natural disasters in the coming years, such as floods, wildfires, and droughts, killing thousands and destroying sources of income and homes (Vidal 2013). Retrieved from https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/11627-Palm-oil-The-pros-and-cons-of-a-controversial-commodity?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5Zrb57Hi6AIVQRx9Ch1mVwQhEAAYASAAEgJiyfD_BwE, Shimizu, H., & Desrochers, P. (2012, September). Lack Of Consumer Demand For Sustainable Palm Oil. Palm oil also “requires significantly less fertilizer, pesticides and fuel per unit produced than rapeseed and soybean” (Shimizu & Desrochers, 2012), leading to fewer issues related to agricultural run-off, pollution, and worker health issues caused by exposure to industrial farm chemicals. We've detected you are coming from a location outside of Australia. This means that low-income agriculturalist families must spend more money in order to feed themselves and their loved ones, and the result is too often malnourishment and food-insecurity (Sinaga, 2013). Environmental Blog submission by Jordan Rydman, Arizona State University, April 2020. 1, No. Which Everyday Products Contain Palm Oil? Palm oil helps to aid in issues of food insecurity and malnourishment by providing an affordable and accessible source of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and anti-oxidants (Shimizu & Desrochers, 2012). Between 1999 and 2015, half of the already-critical population of Orangutans was wiped out as a direct result of palm oil farming; this equals around 150,000 orangutan lives, and the tragic specicide brought the species to the point of critical endangerment with the destruction of their habitat (Voigt et al., 2018). Essentially, like other such problems all over the world, the chief problem lies in bad market economics. Globally, palm oil supplies 35% of the world’s vegetable oil demand on just 10% of the land. Increasing this demand poses a challenge, but is of urgent importance if we hope to preserve what remains of the Southeast Asian tropics, the wildlife which call it home, and the livelihoods of those who depend on it. The environmental impacts of palm oil production, particularly over the last few decades, have been catastrophic. RSPO UPDATES ON COVID-19. In conclusion: comprehensive legislative action is desperately needed, but the palm industry should not have to die for victory to have been achieved. In developing communities, there are higher rates of food insecurity and malnourishment, leading to socio-economic issues related to poor health such as lower school attendance rates or higher inequality rates (Sood, 2010). And for that reason, our global consumption of palm oil needs to be minimized or at least driven into a slower, more sustainable model that considers the environmental impacts of land use before tearing apart beneficial forests. As “Palm Oil” or as a hidden ingredient, it’s in everything from snack foods like chips and ice cream to candy and instant noodles. Palm oil is certainly not alone in being a widely traded commodity that contributes to tropical deforestation—for example, bananas, beef, cane sugar, chocolate, coconuts, coffee, pineapples, soybeans, tea, and vanilla, to name a few, are all produced in previously forested areas. (2013, May 26). Orangutan numbers are in precipitous decline, only 250–400 tigers remain and fewer than 100 rhinos are left in the forests” (Vidal, 2013). _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________, Bronk, R., & Wade, J. Retrieved from https://www.institutmolinari.org/IMG/pdf/note0912_en.pdf, Sinaga, H. (2013). 218. Palm oil has been a big issue on the sustainability agenda for many years now. That’s an increase of the equivalent of roughly 36,000 Olympic sized swimming pools of carbon dioxide more per year. Although the EU’s cars appear to be less emissions-heavy with biofuels in use, the true consequences of their supposed environmentalism lay halfway across the world and razed forests and burned peatlands. by Two Blokes with a Postie, OURF President and Co-founder Gary L. Shapiro, Community Education and Conservation Program, Mobile Education and Conservation Unit Program, https://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?commodity=palm-oil&graph=industrial-domestic-consumption, https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/8-things-know-about-palm-oil, Designed A product as in-demand and versatile as palm oil acts as the source of livelihood for many communities in Southeast Asia, contributing significantly to the GDP of developing economies (Koh & Wilcove, 2007). The Welsh Government is also considering how it can reduce the use of unethical palm oil in food and drink produced in Wales. Nature, 448(7157), 993-994. Women forced to work long hours under the threat of having their pay cut, paid below minimum wage - earning as little as US$2.50 a day in extreme cases - and kept in insecure employment without pensions or health insurance, 2. These goods might come in the form of shampoo, lipstick, cleaning supplies, or most notably, our food. Another alternative solution might be to pass legislation incrementally banning the importation of unsustainably produced palm (as opposed to banning the production), incentivizing farmers around the world to meet RSPO’s guidelines while disincentivizing unsustainable practices. One study conducted by Forest Watch Indonesia claims that while some of this deforestation is government-sanctioned, almost 50% of the natural forest loss is located outside of land zoned for logging or production. These islands also happen to be of the most biodiverse habitats in the world and are the only locations on Earth where orangutans, tigers, rhinos, and elephants all live together (Vidal, 2013). Palm oil is virtually impossible to avoid. Why palm oil boycotts are not as helpful as they might seem, Environmental and Social Impacts of Oil Palm Plantations and their Implications for Biofuel Production in Indonesia, How palm oil ban has made the EU a dirty word in Malaysia, Half of Indonesia’s deforestation occurs outside concession areas, Two decades of destruction in Southeast Asia’s peat swamp forests, Befriending Eco-Anxiety: A Practice of Deep Adaptation. In the case of trees, this compounds the environmentally damaging act of clear cutting by releasing large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere via smoke. Palm oil producers have continuously been found guilty of multiple crimes against humanity, including child labour, underpaid work, hazardous working conditions, and more. Once a Dream Fuel, Palm Oil May Be an Eco-Nightmare (New York Times)3. If Nestlé takes a clear stand against Indofood, PepsiCo could join, leaving Indofood cornered and forced to change its destructive and abusive ways. Sustainably-produced palm oil is an emerging industry, but the lack of education surrounding palm deforestation has given it close to no consumer demand (Nastu, 2017). The Guardian interviewed 66-year-old oil palm farmer, Hussein Mohammad, who decried the EU’s choice to draw down their consumption of palm oil biofuels. While sustainable would indicate that the rainforest is not being harmed in the production of palm oil, “mixed” meant that the oil is blended from unsustainable sources. This controversial ingredient may be present in some form in nearly every room of your home. Half of Indonesia’s deforestation occurs outside concession areas (Mongabay)9. Reines und frisches Palmöl hat einen spezifischen Veilchengeruch, einen süßlichen, angenehmen Geschmack und ist vo… Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) is not a political organization and does not endorse or sponsor activities that attack or condemn individuals, organizations or governments. Click for more information. ❌. 2 (2013), S. 64-78, Sood, N. (2010). With 40% of global palm oil being produced by smallholders, our supply chain is complex. Even permanent employees are often seriously underpaid, making less than a dollar per day of intensive labor (Sinaga, 2013). Nearly 150,000 Bornean Orangutans Lost Since 1999, Cutting Population By Half. Europe has long sought to replace their emissions-heavy diesel fuel with something a little more clean burning. While this is a step forward in slowing the boom of slash-and-burn oil palm plantations in Southeast Asia, it also means a strong blow to small holder farmers relying on the expanding palm oil industry. (2017, October 31). The world has become dependent on this cheap and versatile oil. It’s how my kids afford to study.” So while independent small farmers represent only a portion of oil palm production with the rest being owned by much larger corporations, this decision could upend their livelihoods. Environmental and Social Impacts of Oil Palm Plantations and their Implications for Biofuel Production in Indonesia (Obidzinski et al.)7. Good economics would incorporate the “external costs” of natural … In: Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society. Together, the two countries produce about 85% of the world’s estimated $65 billion palm oil supply. ❌, Ironically, one of the main drivers of this rampant proliferation of oil palm plantations in Southeast Asia is the desire for sustainable biofuels in Europe, or rather, it was until very recently. We’re also committed to working with our suppliers to source fully traceable palm oil to known and certified sources that are environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable." This oil production would simply threaten different sets of species. Most of the palm oil that we source originates in Malaysia and Indonesia, though we also receive supplies from across Latin America, West Africa and other parts of Asia. (2019, November 29). If you look closely, palm oil is everywhere. This post is part of a new series created by ethical.net in partnership with Our Changing Climate: an environmental YouTube channel that explores the intersections of social, political, climatic, and food-based issues. It’s consistency is desirable for cosmetic products, it is resistant to oxidization which gives a longer shelf-life to products containing it, it is considered a healthier alternative to other oils for its lack of trans fats, it is ideal for frying foods due to its stability at high temperatures, and its lack of color and odor prevent it from impacting flavors of food (WWF, 2020; Sinaga, 2013). Retrieved from https://www.environmentalleader.com/2017/09/lack-consumer-demand-cost-keep-companies-sustainable-palm-oil-plans/, Nomanbhay et al. Palm oil is found in roughly 50 per cent of all packaged products on supermarket shelves including shampoos, baking oil, chocolate, cosmetics, chips, cookies, margarine and soaps.. Retrieved from https://edutoolbox.org/system/files/rasp_file/ELAG910P2Text1Sumatran.pdf, Voigt, M., Wich, S. A., Ancrenaz, M., Meijaard, E., Abram, N., Banes, G. L., … Kühl, H. S. (2018, February 15). by Leafcutter, Powered Malnourishment among children in India: linkages with cognitive development and school participation. How palm oil ban has made the EU a dirty word in Malaysia (The Guardian) 8. Due to the efficiency of producing palm oil, it also plays an important role in feeding the growing population of our planet. Die Früchte werden sterilisiert und gepresst, dabei entsteht das rohe Palmöl, CPO (Crude Palm Oil). According to one analysis, from 1990 to 2010, 9.6 million h… Human Development Data (1990-2018). Ultimately, the palm oil industry is now at the whims of economically and politically powerful countries, and is just one of many industries that sacrifices environmental health and the well-being of poor and marginalized communities in pursuit of profits. Consumer awareness must be increased, and mainstreaming appropriate labeling for sustainable palm products may assist in that effort (Shanahan, 2019). The Devastating Effects Of The World’s Palm Oil Addiction, Once a Dream Fuel, Palm Oil May Be an Eco-Nightmare. For example, in 2018, palm oil contributed 37.9% of Malaysia’s agricultural GDP, or nearly 3% of the nation's total GDP for that year (Department of Statistics, Malaysia Official Report, 2019). As a result, simply banning palm oils is not enough. If the palm oil industry were to simply be replaced with different types of oil, the associated issues of biodiversity loss, deforestation, and environmental degradation would not disappear, but instead would simply shift to different areas of the world where other oils would be produced. Palm oil is said to be found in 50% of supermarket products, from food to household cleaners to cosmetics.. So, their sustainable fuel initiative was not really sustainable at all. However, the strictest and most commonly accepted standards for sustainable palm oil are regulated by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and only about 20% of palm oil traded around the world meets these standards, with a demand that doesn’t match the supply (Shanahan, 2019). Get early access and support this important research by becoming a patreon. Those fortunate enough to make minimum wage also struggle to survive, as the minimum wage routinely does not support decent living standards (Sinaga, 2013). Watch Queue Queue Another peer review study on oil palm deforestation found that between 1990 and 2010, net carbon dioxide emissions from land use change due to oil palm plantations increased from 92 to 184 teragrams of carbon dioxide per year in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. Sabrina De Quintal. With an educated consumer base, we could influence legislators to pass laws against unethical palm oil production. According to a study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Southeast Asian peatlands could disappear by 2030 if the rate of oil palm farming continues. Despite the benefits associated with palm oil, many activist groups around the world have vocally denounced the entire industry, judging the consequences as too severe to ignore. The Sustainability agenda for many years now influence legislators to pass laws against unethical palm oil become... Process has led to a sharp decline of peatlands in Indonesia and Malaysia members including.... 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