How much do you know about palm oil? You almost certainly eat or use palm oil on a regular basis. It’s the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet and half of all packaged products contain it – from ice cream to cosmetics. Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. Indonesia and Malaysia produce 86% of the world’s palm oil and their economies rely on it. But clearing for palm oil plantations has destroyed the rainforest homes of animals like orangutans, elephants, rhinos and tigers.
Some Indigenous peoples have fared little better, being forced off their land and robbed of their livelihoods. The felling and burning of trees also exacerbated climate change, and intensive palm oil production is creating soil and water pollution, and soil erosion. “Certified Sustainable Palm Oil” does exist but we’ve recently been reading that this isn’t any better and potentially pretty corrupt. Avoiding it altogether wherever possible seems a safer bet.
Read this quick piece to see all the other names palm oil disguises itself in.