Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. Today, palm oil is grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, with 85% of all palm oil globally produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia – most of the time not using sustainable measures.
The industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes, species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next five to 10 years, and Sumatran tigers in less than three years.
Additionally, among the estimated 3.7 million workers in the industry, there are thousands of child laborers and workers who face dangerous and abusive conditions, debt bondage and human trafficking. A 2012 U.S. Department of Labor report found that apparel, seafood, gold, and palm oil were among the industries most notorious for forced and child labor.
Check out which type of products to check for palm oil:
Sustainable Palm Oil Alternative
- Only buy products with RSPO Certified sustainable palm oil
Check out yearly updates on products and companies in the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) sustainable palm oil yearly scorecard
- Request your local groceries and restaurants to provide more sustainable palm oil products
- Divesting from Banks Invested in Rain Forest Destruction/unsustainable Palm Oil Production
- Petition: Tell PepsiCo and Kraft Heinz to stop the destruction of critical forests like the Leuser Ecosystem for Palm OilAvoid buying products with normal palm oil
Join the Rain Forest Action Network (RAN) Palm Oil Action Team
- The Orangutan Project
- Call Out The Laggards Who Refuse to Take Action to Cut Conflict Palm Oil!