1. WHAT IS PALM OIL?
Palm oil is a globally traded agricultural commodity that touches our lives in every trip we make to the supermarket. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from pulping the fruit of oil palms originally native to Africa. Palm oil is commonly used as a cooking oil in Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Brazil and its consumption is on the rise worldwide.
The recent rise in the use of palm oil in the US food industry has resulted largely from changed labeling requirements that have caused a switch away from using trans fats. Palm oil is semi-solid at room temperatures and along with coconut oil, is one of the few highly saturated vegetable fats.
2. WHY IS PALM OIL A PROBLEM?
Palm oil has become one of the world’s leading causes of Rainforest destruction. Unchecked expansion has pushed palm oil plantations into the heart of some of the world’s most culturally and biologically diverse ecosystems and palm oil is among the biggest threats driving iconic wildlife species like the Critically-Endangered Sumatran Orangutan and the Endangered Borneo Orangutan to the brink of extinction in Indonesia and Borneo Malaysia.
This large-scale destruction of rainforests and carbon-rich peatland landscapes is releasing globally significant quantities of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, making palm oil a major global driver of human-induced #ClimateChange.
The production of palm oil is also responsible for widespread human rights violations as palm oil companies often forcefully remove Indigenous Peoples and rural communities from their lands. Child labor and modern day slavery are known to occur on palm oil plantations in both Indonesia and Malaysia.