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Community hurting the environment  the palm oil paradox | Upload Society

Hurting The Environment: The Palm Oil Paradox

by: Sharai Hoekema
hurting the environment  the palm oil paradox | Upload

At the beginning of the 2010s, big companies such as Dove, Mars, and Nestlé were publicly shamed for their continued use of palm oil. Not because it is a product that harms our health directly, or because it contains hidden substances - but instead because its production hurts our environment.

Hurting The Environment

And while they pledged at the time to stop their purchase of 'dirty' palm oil and make serious efforts to alleviate the damage that they caused; a story recently hit the news that most of them are allegedly ignoring these promises made and continue to use protected land for the growth of palm oil.

According to the whistleblower, these companies have mainly set aside the plans to gearing up their production. “For too many years, Nestlé, Mars, and Hershey have cherry-picked their (palm oil) targets and then moved the goalposts when they don’t achieve them. There’s just no further room for error to prevent the extinction of tigers, orang-utans, and elephants.”

man, tool, palm oil plam trees
A man walks with a knife on a stick in a palm oil plating.

Recommended: Pollination Crisis: When Insects Are Gone

The Palm Oil Paradox: The Important For Companies?

There must be something rather crucial to this illustrious substance, for these large multinationals risk seriously damaging their reputation. And sure enough, it is. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil harvested from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm. It is one of the world’s most adaptable and frequently used commodities. 

Besides, it is relatively cheap - while posing unique characteristics that make it desirable for its lubricating, cleansing, and vitamin-rich nature. This combination of low costs and high effectiveness makes it very appealing for those companies who want to keep their costs down while maintaining their product quality, despite the negative attention it may draw to them.

Recommended: Food Forest: Growing Food And Creating Biodiversity

Palm Oil: What Are The Alternatives?

In large areas of the world, palm oil is used as a common cooking ingredient - not only as an ingredient but also as oil. Large parts of Africa and Brazil, and Southeast Asia heavily rely on it for their daily diet. This appeal mainly comes from low cost and high saturation when used for frying. Thus, a considerable portion of products they use daily will contain palm oil in one form. This ranges from chips, chocolate, and instant noodles to toothpaste, lipstick, and body lotions. 

wooden box, chocolate
Photo by Simone van der Koelen, Unsplash. Palm oil is processed in chocolate.

India is one of those countries where it is still frequently used. The latest estimates put the number of Indians that use palm oil daily at a staggering 50%. And this is still growing: the rapidly developing country is only now moving on from other sources, such as oils based on groundnut and coconut. And with the country proliferating and becoming richer (consumption has doubled in recent decades), palm oil has become indispensable in feeding its 1.3 million population.

Recommended: These Apps Will Help You Live More Sustainable

The country faces a considerable challenge in finding ways to bring cheap food sources to their rapidly expanding population while facing an alarmingly high poverty rate and minimal land use. At the same time, India wants to boost its domestic production and reduce its reliance on imports. For this, palm oil seems to be the only solution that ticks all the boxes, and as such, the Asian country is working hard to ramp up its domestic production, freeing up vast amounts of land for this purpose.

App to discover palm oil in products.

Palm Oil: Negative Attention?

So far, so good: it looks as if this raw material can solve a stringent issue. However, there is a flip side; and a reason why there has been such a public outcry against the use of palm oil. Its production causes severe environmental damage (deforestation, habitat, degradation, climate change, animal cruelty) and often violates human rights. Sustainability is something that most producers are not concerned with, nor about traceability. 

The production has singlehandedly endangered species, such as the orang-utan and Sumatran tiger, and pushed those to the brink of extinction. And while some might say that India freeing up available land will lead to more sustainable production, this could not be further from the truth. The harsh reality is that India does - and will - only produce a fraction of the palm oil needed to meet the growing demand. 



                                                                      The real problem with Palm Oil.

 

The remainder is - and will be - imported from other countries, particularly Malaysia and Indonesia. And these rising imports will put more pressure on those countries, which leads to worse circumstances, once again encouraging “dirty palm oil” producers to benefit - without due cause for the damage done to the environment.

There you have it, a double-edged sword. To feed India's growing population, they will have to import significant amounts of palm oil - the core component of their people’s diet. The strain that this puts on our environment is tremendous and causing irreparable damage. 

Feeding ànd saving the planet simultaneously appears to be a trickier issue than most will think, although it will be crucial to solving if we can even take a remote shot at saving our world.

Cover photo by Alain Schroeder, Belgium. First prize, nature, singles, Final Farewell 2020. A month-old orangutan's body lies on a rescue team’s surgical drape near Subulussalam, Sumatra, Indonesia. She died soon after being found with her injured mother on a palm oil plantation, on 10 March 2019

Before you go!

Recommended: Farmers Tackle Pests With Flowers And Insects

Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below.
We try to respond the same day.

Like to write your article about palm oil or other damaging products or practices?
Send your writing & scribble with a photo to [email protected], and we will write an interesting article based on your input.

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Hurting The Environment: The Palm Oil Paradox

At the beginning of the 2010s, big companies such as Dove, Mars, and Nestlé were publicly shamed for their continued use of palm oil. Not because it is a product that harms our health directly, or because it contains hidden substances - but instead because its production hurts our environment. Hurting The Environment And while they pledged at the time to stop their purchase of 'dirty' palm oil and make serious efforts to alleviate the damage that they caused; a story recently hit the news that most of them are allegedly ignoring these promises made and continue to use protected land for the growth of palm oil. According to the whistleblower, these companies have mainly set aside the plans to gearing up their production. “ For too many years, Nestlé, Mars, and Hershey have cherry-picked their (palm oil) targets and then moved the goalposts when they don’t achieve them. There’s just no further room for error to prevent the extinction of tigers, orang-utans, and elephants .” A man walks with a knife on a stick in a palm oil plating. Recommended:  Pollination Crisis: When Insects Are Gone The Palm Oil Paradox: The Important For Companies? There must be something rather crucial to this illustrious substance, for these large multinationals risk seriously damaging their reputation. And sure enough, it is. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil harvested from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm. It is one of the world’s most adaptable and frequently used commodities.   Besides, it is relatively cheap - while posing unique characteristics that make it desirable for its lubricating, cleansing, and vitamin-rich nature. This combination of low costs and high effectiveness makes it very appealing for those companies who want to keep their costs down while maintaining their product quality, despite the negative attention it may draw to them. Recommended:  Food Forest: Growing Food And Creating Biodiversity Palm Oil: What Are The Alternatives? In large areas of the world, palm oil is used as a common cooking ingredient - not only as an ingredient but also as oil. Large parts of Africa and Brazil, and Southeast Asia heavily rely on it for their daily diet. This appeal mainly comes from low cost and high saturation when used for frying. Thus, a considerable portion of products they use daily will contain palm oil in one form. This ranges from chips, chocolate, and instant noodles to toothpaste, lipstick, and body lotions.   Photo by Simone van der Koelen, Unsplash. Palm oil is processed in chocolate. India is one of those countries where it is still frequently used. The latest estimates put the number of Indians that use palm oil daily at a staggering 50%. And this is still growing: the rapidly developing country is only now moving on from other sources, such as oils based on groundnut and coconut. And with the country proliferating and becoming richer (consumption has doubled in recent decades), palm oil has become indispensable in feeding its 1.3 million population. Recommended:  These Apps Will Help You Live More Sustainable The country faces a considerable challenge in finding ways to bring cheap food sources to their rapidly expanding population while facing an alarmingly high poverty rate and minimal land use. At the same time, India wants to boost its domestic production and reduce its reliance on imports. For this, palm oil seems to be the only solution that ticks all the boxes, and as such, the Asian country is working hard to ramp up its domestic production, freeing up vast amounts of land for this purpose. App to discover palm oil in products. Palm Oil: Negative Attention? So far, so good: it looks as if this raw material can solve a stringent issue. However, there is a flip side; and a reason why there has been such a public outcry against the use of palm oil. Its production causes severe environmental damage (deforestation, habitat, degradation, climate change, animal cruelty) and often violates human rights. Sustainability is something that most producers are not concerned with, nor about traceability.   The production has singlehandedly endangered species, such as the orang-utan and Sumatran tiger, and pushed those to the brink of extinction. And while some might say that India freeing up available land will lead to more sustainable production, this could not be further from the truth. The harsh reality is that India does - and will - only produce a fraction of the palm oil needed to meet the growing demand.   {youtube}                                                                       The real problem with Palm Oil.   The remainder is - and will be - imported from other countries, particularly Malaysia and Indonesia. And these rising imports will put more pressure on those countries, which leads to worse circumstances, once again encouraging “dirty palm oil” producers to benefit - without due cause for the damage done to the environment. There you have it, a double-edged sword. To feed India's growing population, they will have to import significant amounts of palm oil - the core component of their people’s diet. The strain that this puts on our environment is tremendous and causing irreparable damage.   Feeding ànd saving the planet simultaneously appears to be a trickier issue than most will think, although it will be crucial to solving if we can even take a remote shot at saving our world. Cover photo by Alain Schroeder, Belgium. First prize, nature, singles, Final Farewell 2020. A month-old orangutan's body lies on a rescue team’s surgical drape near Subulussalam, Sumatra, Indonesia. She died soon after being found with her injured mother on a palm oil plantation, on 10 March 2019 Before you go! Recommended:  Farmers Tackle Pests With Flowers And Insects Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your article about palm oil or other damaging products or practices? Send your writing & scribble with a photo to  [email protected] , and we will write an interesting article based on your input.
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