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It is the most commonly used vegetable oil and can be found in upwards of half of the packaged goods in the supermarket. It’s affordable and shelf stable, but the problem is that most palm oil is produced on plantations in an unsustainable and destructive manner, inflicting serious damage to our climate, the local ecosystem, and indigenous communities.
Many plantations that produce “sustainable palm oil” have enabled deforestation and climate change, making certifications virtually meaningless. In our books, truly sustainable palm oil needs to be produced without contributing to deforestation, species extinction, high greenhouse gas emissions, and human rights violations. So far, the palm oil industry is failing our world, so we are taking the moral high ground and avoiding palm oil all together.
In 2004, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed to promote the growth of environmentally friendly palm oil.
But did you know that many plantations that are certified as sustainable per the RSPO are actually behind deforestation?
The RSPO doesn’t outwardly tell you that all deforestation prior to November 2005 doesn't count against being sustainable.
Studies are also finding that "eco-friendly" plantations are causing more destruction than non-certified lands. What gives?
Click the links below to see for yourself:
CNN: Borneo is Burning
New York Times: A Blood-Red Sky
Washington Post: Wildfires in Indonesia
Washington Post: Food companies face complaints of forced labor
PBS: Indigenous leaders call attention to disastrous forest fires
CNBC: Indonesia has not imposed serious enough penalties
Reuters: Indonesia's 'Good Palm' drive enflames anger
Reuters: Malaysia hopes to pay for military equipment with palm oil
Reuters: Palm oil to blame for 39% of forest loss in Borneo since 2000
Mongabay: 81% of Indonesia’s oil palm plantations flouting regulations
Independent UK: Palm oil greenwashing is a real problem