Palm oil has always been a concern of mine due to the effects it has on the environment, but has now come into the public eye recently through the disasters of the Indonesian deforestation via out-of-control fires. As palm oil is gained through monoculture plantations, using a slash-and-burn methods, this causes a major loss of habitat for many animal species as well as large-scale deforestation. The actual effects from slash-and-burn can cause death to the animals through smoke inhalation, and burns.
Slash-and-burn is also associated with soil erosion, air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, and climate change. (http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/agriculture/palm_oil/environmental_impacts/)
“Today it’s estimated that fewer than 50,000 [orangutans] exist in the wild, split into small group with little chance of long-term survival.” http://greenpalm.org/about-palm-oil/social-and-environmental-impact-of-palm-oil
“Government data has shown that over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil in the last two decades.” http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/Whats_the_issue.php
There are also a variety of social impacts including loss of livelihood, child labour, social conflict, forced migration and land grabs (http://www.sustainablepalmoil.org/consumers-retailers/consumers/environmental-and-social-impacts/)
Palm oil can be found in a variety of different products in the household, including foods, cleaning products, toiletries, and washing detergents. “This single vegetable oil is found in approximately 40-50% of household products” (http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/Whats_the_issue.php)
These products are often hard to find as the companies alter the names of palm oil in their ingredients to a wide variety of alternative names (a comprehensive list can be found on the link below), which makes it very hard to reduce personal palm oil consumption.
However, I have recently found the link below which contains a quick list of main companies to avoid, as well as a comprehensive list of specific products (ranged in categories green for okay buy, orange for cautious buy and red for don’t buy).
Hopefully, this will allow me to now add “reduce palm oil consumption” to my shopping aims.
There is also a 28 day Palm Oil challenge (http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/What_can_i_do.php) which you can sign up for to aid in reducing palm oil effects. Some people are even getting sponsored to do this.