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Palm Oil – A Different Perspective

  • On September 8, 2017
Palm Oil – A Different Perspective
By Meritus Media June 26, 2017
3-4 minutes

Before you make a decision about whether growing and producing palm oil is good or bad, you should have all the facts.

( — June 26, 2017) Clearwater , Florida —

When you hear ‘palm oil’ you most likely think of the destruction of natural habitats and putting wildlife at risk. There’s been a coordinated and sustained campaign against the atrocities committed by palm growers in some parts of the world. But there is more to this story-before you make a decision about whether growing and producing palm oil is good or bad, you should have all the facts.
Palm Oil vs Other Oils

Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. It’s in about half of the products you buy. In terms of growth and production, palm oil is a high-yielding vegetable oil – that means less land is used to grow palm oil than other crops. So the idea of replacing it with other oils is not realistic – this would only lead to more land use and that certainly won’t solve the issue of deforestation and associated land-use change.
Palm Oil Growers

Not every palm oil grower is decimating the environment. There are companies in South East Asia and Central America who take protecting the environment very seriously and produce their palm oil in a sustainable and responsible manner.

There are also oversight groups such as the Round Table on Sustainable Pam Oil (RSPO) that inspect and certify companies producing palm oil. RSPO has strict criteria that have to be met and environmental conservation is high on that list.
The Changing View on Palm Oil

In a recent article the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a US-based campaign group, pointed out that palm oil is not top of the list in terms of deforestation and destruction of natural habitats.

Their statement is based on a data from a report by Climate Focus, written for signatories to the New York Declaration on Forests, which shows that beef is by far the biggest driver of deforestation. Soy is second, but far behind in terms of importance. And palm oil and wood products are even smaller drivers, causing only about a tenth as much deforestation as beef. Isn’t it interesting that we have never seen 400,000 people marching in protest about beef production?

In light of these figures, you’d expect to see commitment to change and environmental preservation from these four types of agricultural companies in that order, right? Well actually, no. It’s in reverse. It’s the palm oil producers who top that list:

Palm Oil – 59%
Wood Products – 53%
Soy – 21%
Beef – 12%

The facts on deforestation do not support the view that Palm Oil is the “Evil Empire.” It is clearly not the main driver of deforestation, or even a major contributor to climate change. Responsible and sustainable palm oil growers and producers are leading the effort to meet the 2020 goal of the New York Declaration on Forests. They also provide income and empowerment for their workers through social programs and education.