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Palm Oil

Oil Palm Trees in Sabah, Malaysian BorneoPalm OIl Fruit in Sabah, Malaysian BorneoPalm OIl Plantation in Sabah, BorneoVast oil palm plantation in MalaysiaDeforestation for oil palms in BorneoEnormous palm oil planation in East BorneoPalm oil in BorneoPalm oil into the distance near Mount KinabaluOil Palm Tree in Malaysia

Palm Oil Location

Map of Palm Oil Locations

Palm Oil

Palm oil and it's derivatives are the product of the oil palm tree which is cultivated extensively all around the world particularly in Malaysia and Indonesia. Today it is found in roughly half of all of the products on supermarket shelves with this industry having single-handedly contributed to the fastest rates of deforestation in south-east Asia over the past few decades.

The problem with palm oil is obvious on the surface: ancient, biodiverse rainforest is cleared meaning that the wildlife in these conservation sensitive areas has no food or shelter and therefore disappears, with the extinction of numerous iconic species such as orang-utans becoming a horrendously realistic prospect within the next decade.

Until December 2014, it was impossible to tell what products actually contained palm oil as it was labelled as a vegetable oil on ingredients lists, but with help from the A-Z Animals Palm Oil Campaign, legislation has since been passed to ensure palm oil is now labelled as such within the EU, and also Australia. Now though we do have a real choice but is a total boycott the way forward?

Well, what many people fail to realise is that although it may be possible, it is actually quite irresponsible. If for some magical reason the production of palm oil ceased to continue then the problem would simply move to other oil types such as soy or coconut oil, which require almost identical growing climates as the oil palm.

If you want to help to protect the rainforests and the animals that inhabit them then the best thing to do is to actively support the use of sustainable palm oil in products as this oil has been grown and produced in a way that is regulated and has less harmful environmental impacts than the majority of the palm oil that is on the market today. It is important to remember that if sustainable palm oil does not have the support, then it will stop being produced completely taking the situation right back to square one.

Save the rainforest. Save the orang-utan. Save the world.

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First Published: 10th January 2017

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