palm oil unethical

Two decades of destruction in Southeast Asia’s peat swamp forests (Miettinen et al.). Sabrina De Quintal. Global production of and demand for palm oil is increasing rapidly. Our Changing Climate is a video essay series dedicated to examining our relationship to the natural world and seeks to fill a void in the media: a lack of coverage of all things environmental. by Two Blokes with a Postie, OURF President and Co-founder Gary L. Shapiro, Community Education and Conservation Program, Mobile Education and Conservation Unit Program, https://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?commodity=palm-oil&graph=industrial-domestic-consumption, https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/8-things-know-about-palm-oil, Designed Not only is the loss of rainforest a problem due to the subsequent loss of the ability to sequester large amounts of carbon, but it also means the destruction of rich biodiverse habitats, and often the easiest and cheapest way to ready large swaths of forest for production is through burning. The Sumatran Rainforest Will Mostly Disappear Within 20 Years. Because when done right, oil palms can yield the highest amount of oil per acre of land, and if Western countries drastically decrease their demand for palm oil, that could bring a harsh disaster for many now reliant on a Western thirst for the oil. This video is unavailable. Witzenhausen : University of Kassel, Department of Organic Food Quality and Food Culture. Retrieved from https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/8-things-know-about-palm-oil, Yale University Global Forest Atlas. Increasing this demand poses a challenge, but is of urgent importance if we hope to preserve what remains of the Southeast Asian tropics, the wildlife which call it home, and the livelihoods of those who depend on it. Those fortunate enough to make minimum wage also struggle to survive, as the minimum wage routinely does not support decent living standards (Sinaga, 2013). This controversial ingredient may be present in some form in nearly every room of your home. Palm oil is found in roughly 50 per cent of all packaged products on supermarket shelves including shampoos, baking oil, chocolate, cosmetics, chips, cookies, margarine and soaps.. When it comes down to it, the problems of the palm oil industry are symptoms of a much larger problem that there are countries who get to dictate global economies, and those countries don’t operate on an ethic of environmental or social care, but rather one of domination and exploitation. The investigation exposed a wide range of abuses including: 1. Environmental and Social Impacts of Oil Palm Plantations and their Implications for Biofuel Production in Indonesia (Obidzinski et al.)7. Retrieved from https://www.environmentalleader.com/2017/09/lack-consumer-demand-cost-keep-companies-sustainable-palm-oil-plans/, Nomanbhay et al. We only use cookies to optimise site functionality and analytics. In: Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society. What is palm oil? Commodity Intelligence Report INDONESIA: Palm Oil Expansion Unaffected by Forest Moratorium. Palmöl (auch: Palmfett) wird aus dem Fruchtfleisch der Palmfrüchte gewonnen. In conclusion: comprehensive legislative action is desperately needed, but the palm industry should not have to die for victory to have been achieved. Retrieved from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57a08b09ed915d3cfd000abe/PTA25.pdf, Stotts, R. (n.d.) Lecture: Agricultural Production Globally [PowerPoint Presentation]. Children as young as eight doing … Half of Indonesia’s deforestation occurs outside concession areas (Mongabay)9. The government and Food and Drink Industry Wales Board are committed to … The point here is this: Palm oil production is indeed tied to environmentally harmful practices like clear cutting rainforests and draining and burning peatlands. (2013, June 26). However, the strictest and most commonly accepted standards for sustainable palm oil are regulated by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and only about 20% of palm oil traded around the world meets these standards, with a demand that doesn’t match the supply (Shanahan, 2019). As a result, simply banning palm oils is not enough. Pushing companies to only buy certified sustainable palm oil is one clear way of doing this. To start, the widespread monocropping necessary for palm production has resulted in a micro-level food insecurity crisis (Sinaga, 2013). (2016). Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “The impact of the unsustainably produced palm oil is increasingly becoming part of the public’s consciousness. Get early access and support this important research by becoming a patreon. Palm Oil Mill Plant Flow Chart Introduction: 1.Palm oil mil process of bunch reception: as palm fruit unloading, cleaning, storage platform during palm oil mill processing, all hydraulic segmented discharge. That being said, the makeup of the land before conversion varied widely, and as a result, the environmental impacts of this massive land transformation is contextual. Palm oil is certainly not alone in being a widely traded commodity that contributes to tropical deforestation—for example, bananas, beef, cane sugar, chocolate, coconuts, coffee, pineapples, soybeans, tea, and vanilla, to name a few, are all produced in previously forested areas. Most of the palm oil that we source originates in Malaysia and Indonesia, though we also receive supplies from across Latin America, West Africa and other parts of Asia. Koh, L. P., & Wilcove, D. S. (2007). Ultimately, the palm oil industry is now at the whims of economically and politically powerful countries, and is just one of many industries that sacrifices environmental health and the well-being of poor and marginalized communities in pursuit of profits. Retrieved from https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/11627-Palm-oil-The-pros-and-cons-of-a-controversial-commodity?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5Zrb57Hi6AIVQRx9Ch1mVwQhEAAYASAAEgJiyfD_BwE, Shimizu, H., & Desrochers, P. (2012, September). (n.d.). These goods might come in the form of shampoo, lipstick, cleaning supplies, or most notably, our food. The combination of these direct and indirect environmental consequences associated with palm production warrant extreme concern, as they pose the risk of sending islands like Borneo and Sumatra into complete regime changes which not only would mean suffering on the part of wildlife but of the people who depend on natural resources to survive (Vidal, 2013). Over 50 percent of processed goods contain unsustainable palm oil, including, healthy, vegan and organic products — it’s in nearly everything, from … The Palm Oil Global Value Chain (Pacheco et al.)6. What Are the Best Ethical Alternatives to Medium. Ethical.net is a collaborative platform for discovering and sharing ethical product alternatives — whether that means purchasing from a social enterprise, thrift shopping, or learning how to fix your old phone instead of buying a new one. The Trump administration will halt imports of palm oil from Malaysia over findings of forced labor abuses at the plantations of one of the country's top producers. Which Everyday Products Contain Palm Oil? 8 things to know about palm oil. While sustainable would indicate that the rainforest is not being harmed in the production of palm oil, “mixed” meant that the oil is blended from unsustainable sources. Opinions expressed are those of the author. If that weren’t enough, palm oil is produced using almost exclusively monoculture farming techniques, which are known to cause of a handful of environmental degradation issues such as the damaging of ecosystem resiliency, high levels of pollution, agricultural run-off contaminating waterways and bleaching coral reefs, heightening greenhouse gas levels, and the catalyzing of numerous irreversible feedback loops which exacerbate climate-change issues (Bronk & Wade, 2016). It also is considered a healthier alternative to hydrogenated oils or animal fats that contain trans fats, associated with heart disease, and increases in unhealthy cholesterol (Shimizu & Desrochers, 2012). Besides the deforestation of primary forests and rainforests, the draining and burning of peatlands in Southeast Asia has caused huge problems for the environment and atmosphere. As the primary consumers of this oil, Europe in the United States have driven the demand for, and ultimately the reckless piece of palm oil production in Indonesia and Malaysia. Palm oil is virtually impossible to avoid. Environmental Blog submission by Jordan Rydman, Arizona State University, April 2020. Uncertainty and the dangers of monocultures in regulation, analysis, and practice. Palm oil has been determined to be the most efficient crop on Earth and is approximately 4-10 times more resource-efficient than other plant oils such as soy, rapeseed, sunflower, or coconut (Nomanbhay et al., 2017). Retrieved from https://www.institutmolinari.org/IMG/pdf/note0912_en.pdf, Sinaga, H. (2013). According to a study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Southeast Asian peatlands could disappear by 2030 if the rate of oil palm farming continues. The Devastating Effects Of The World’s Palm Oil Addiction, Once a Dream Fuel, Palm Oil May Be an Eco-Nightmare. The world has become dependent on this cheap and versatile oil. We've detected you are coming from a location outside of Australia. Human Development Data (1990-2018). Die Früchte werden sterilisiert und gepresst, dabei entsteht das rohe Palmöl, CPO (Crude Palm Oil). (2020, January 17). Between 1999 and 2015, half of the already-critical population of Orangutans was wiped out as a direct result of palm oil farming; this equals around 150,000 orangutan lives, and the tragic specicide brought the species to the point of critical endangerment with the destruction of their habitat (Voigt et al., 2018). These islands also happen to be of the most biodiverse habitats in the world and are the only locations on Earth where orangutans, tigers, rhinos, and elephants all live together (Vidal, 2013). Cashing in palm oil for conservation. Why palm oil boycotts are not as helpful as they might seem, Environmental and Social Impacts of Oil Palm Plantations and their Implications for Biofuel Production in Indonesia, How palm oil ban has made the EU a dirty word in Malaysia, Half of Indonesia’s deforestation occurs outside concession areas, Two decades of destruction in Southeast Asia’s peat swamp forests, Befriending Eco-Anxiety: A Practice of Deep Adaptation. Palm Oil. Palm oil serves many purposes in enhancing the quality of everyday products around the world, both edible and inedible. Palm oil producers have continuously been found guilty of multiple crimes against humanity, including child labour, underpaid work, hazardous working conditions, and more. Nearly 150,000 Bornean Orangutans Lost Since 1999, Cutting Population By Half. Palm Oil Industrial Domestic Consumption by Country in 1000 MT. In this, a substantial amount of rural communities are reliant on palm agriculture for their livelihood, and the boycotting or banning of palm oil would have devastating socio-economic repercussions for the millions of people in Indonesia and Malaysia alone who are employed by the industry, as well as their dependents (Sinaga, 2013). The environmental impacts of palm oil production, particularly over the last few decades, have been catastrophic. Even permanent employees are often seriously underpaid, making less than a dollar per day of intensive labor (Sinaga, 2013). Their solution was biofuels, chief of which was palm oil. We support responsible sourcing of palm oil through our Global 2020 Sustainability Commitments. ❌. RSPO UPDATES ON COVID-19. The cheaper option should always be the environmentally better option. 1, No. The ubiquity of palm oil has become such a hot button issue that the European Union decided to ban subsidies of palm oil and biofuels by 2020. Europe has long sought to replace their emissions-heavy diesel fuel with something a little more clean burning. Retrieved from https://ipad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2013/06/indonesia/, Vidal, J. Watch Queue Queue Malnourishment among children in India: linkages with cognitive development and school participation. . The benefits that workers receive through employment are comparably scarce, often being as meek and nutritionally insufficient as “subsistence support” in the form of rice rewarded at “15 kilograms/month to a worker, with an additional 9 kilograms/month for his wife, as well as 7.5 kilograms/month for each child to a maximum of 3 children” (Sinaga, 2013). Global Demand for Natural Resources Eliminated More Than 100,000 Bornean Orangutans. While palm oil often ends up in products consumed mostly in the US and Europe, the story of palm oil’s environmental devastation lies rooted in Indonesia and Malaysia. 1. Together, the two countries produce about 85% of the world’s estimated $65 billion palm oil supply. Some would argue that the production of palm has too negative an impact on the environment to be considered ethical and therefore should be banned outright by governments. In 2019, we sourced our palm oil through 88 suppliers, originating from at least 1624 mills (which can be many tiers upstream in our supply chain) in 24 countries. The result is children who are physically wasted and stunted, families unqualified to perform higher-paying skilled work, increased gender inequality, and laborers who are prone to disability and/or the chronic health effects of intense labor through developmental stages (Sood, 2010; Sinaga, 2013; Stotts, n.d.). Palm oil is one of the categories on which we base our company and product ratings, and from unsustainable deforestation to animal rights to human exploitation, the palm oil industry seems to be a mess. If Nestlé takes a clear stand against Indofood, PepsiCo could join, leaving Indofood cornered and forced to change its destructive and abusive ways. With 40% of global palm oil being produced by smallholders, our supply chain is complex. 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 Sumatran orangutan to the brink of extinction in Indonesia. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982218300861, WWF. However, the ethics behind this mass-consumption have been questioned in recent years as the production of palm has played an increasingly dominant role in the deforestation of Southeast Asian rainforests, and consequent severe losses in biodiversity (Koh & Wilcove, 2007). As a result, the European Commission banned palm oil biofuel subsidies in March of 2019. Combined, these two countries satisfy 90% of the global demand for palm oil. Therefore, the demand for affordable, accessible, and nutrient-rich foods is high, as they are crucial to the well-being of food-insecure populations (Sood, 2010). This means that low-income agriculturalist families must spend more money in order to feed themselves and their loved ones, and the result is too often malnourishment and food-insecurity (Sinaga, 2013). In developing communities, there are higher rates of food insecurity and malnourishment, leading to socio-economic issues related to poor health such as lower school attendance rates or higher inequality rates (Sood, 2010). Land Use Policy (Vol. Indofood’s new toothless palm oil policy is a perfect opportunity to remind Nestlé of its own commitments. The Welsh Government is also considering how it can reduce the use of unethical palm oil in food and drink produced in Wales. (2013, May 26). Palm oil is an incredibly efficient crop, producing more oil per land area than any other equivalent vegetable oil crop. Cadbury chocolate must end their “irresponsible” use of palm oil which is “destroying” the planet, the founder’s great grandson has said. The health, environmental and economic benefits of palm oil. While palm oil often ends up in products consumed mostly in the US and Europe, the story of palm oil’s environmental devastation lies rooted in Indonesia and Malaysia. Even consumers who are informed of the ethical issues surrounding traditional palm production are often unaware that sustainably produced palm oil exists (Nastu, 2017). The problem with palm oil is that for various reasons sustainably grown palm oil is almost always more expensive than palm grown on newly agriculturalised forest land. Yet, as a result of palm agriculture and correlated deforestation, scientists warn that “many of Indonesia’s species could be extinct in the wild within 20–30 years. RSPO has launched a webpage to keep members updated on the latest RSPO/COVID-19 news and how this evolving situation may impact your operations. Conflict Palm Oil is found in roughly half of all packaged products sold in U.S. grocery stores. (2019). In an official statement, the World Wildlife Fund argues that rather than boycotting, working from within to establish environmental best practices for oil palm growers is the best way forward. (2019, November 29). Palm oil has been determined to be the most efficient crop on Earth and is approximately 4-10 times more resource-efficient than other plant oils such as soy, rapeseed, sunflower, or coconut (Nomanbhay et al., 2017). Palm oil producers, noticing the penchant for biofuels, managed to penetrate the biofuels market mostly in Europe. 218. Lack Of Consumer Demand For Sustainable Palm Oil. Yet it can often disguise itself with sneaky aliases on ingredient lists. Retrieved from https://www.econstor.eu/handle/10419/141283, Department of Statistics, Malaysia Official Report. Furthermore, casual and unpaid laborers are rife on palm plantations, with most unpaid laborers being women and children (Sinaga, 2013). Nestle can no longer claim to use certified sustainable palm oil in its chocolates and other products, after being suspended by the group responsible for certification. And it’s this act of rapidly terraforming forest land into neat rows of oil palms that has led to a backlash against palm oil products. This oil production would simply threaten different sets of species. Click for more information. With an educated consumer base, we could influence legislators to pass laws against unethical palm oil production. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________, Bronk, R., & Wade, J. How palm oil ban has made the EU a dirty word in Malaysia (The Guardian) 8. Retrieved from https://edutoolbox.org/system/files/rasp_file/ELAG910P2Text1Sumatran.pdf, Voigt, M., Wich, S. A., Ancrenaz, M., Meijaard, E., Abram, N., Banes, G. L., … Kühl, H. S. (2018, February 15). Brighton: Consortium for Research on Educational Access, Transitions and Equity. One study conducted by Forest Watch Indonesia claims that while some of this deforestation is government-sanctioned, almost 50% of the natural forest loss is located outside of land zoned for logging or production. If the palm oil industry were to simply be replaced with different types of oil, the associated issues of biodiversity loss, deforestation, and environmental degradation would not disappear, but instead would simply shift to different areas of the world where other oils would be produced. Sustainably-produced palm oil is an emerging industry, but the lack of education surrounding palm deforestation has given it close to no consumer demand (Nastu, 2017). 44. Among the top countries in the world for palm oil consumption are Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and the Philippines, all of which are considered to be developing nations according to the UN Human Development Report (2019). It is a type of vegetable oil derived from palm oil fruit. As consumers, we need to use our power at the checkout to continue to drive change in the palm oil industry. There’s definitely some truth to the statement. (Vidal, 2013). On a similar note, the working conditions of those in the palm sector have been repeatedly put under ethical scrutiny. Through a medley of small land holders and large corporations, rural land has been transformed into an oil palm monocropping factory. Deforestation has also already resulted in a spike in violence across Indonesia, wherein 2012, over 600 major land conflicts in palm plantations were recorded (Vidal, 2013). He says, “I have spent all my money on the palm oil farm; I’ve recently planted new trees that will last for the next 25 years and my whole family relies on this. Orangutan numbers are in precipitous decline, only 250–400 tigers remain and fewer than 100 rhinos are left in the forests” (Vidal, 2013). It’s how my kids afford to study.” So while independent small farmers represent only a portion of oil palm production with the rest being owned by much larger corporations, this decision could upend their livelihoods. 2 (2013), S. 64-78, Sood, N. (2010). Palm oil is an important food in Asia. For example, Borneo and Sumatra, two islands off the coast of Indonesia, account for 96% of Indonesia’s palm oil production (USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, 2013). Women forced to work long hours under the threat of having their pay cut, paid below minimum wage - earning as little as US$2.50 a day in extreme cases - and kept in insecure employment without pensions or health insurance, 2. Palm oil is a very productive crop. It’s consistency is desirable for cosmetic products, it is resistant to oxidization which gives a longer shelf-life to products containing it, it is considered a healthier alternative to other oils for its lack of trans fats, it is ideal for frying foods due to its stability at high temperatures, and its lack of color and odor prevent it from impacting flavors of food (WWF, 2020; Sinaga, 2013). Energy, Sustainability and Society (2017) 7:23DOI 10.1186/s13705-017-0126-z, Shanahan, M. (2019, November 4). Malaysia is the second-largest producer of palm in the world, following Indonesia. In sum, the production of palm oil is bad for the environment, animals, Indigenous people, and labourers. Known for the oil its fruits produce, oil palms are consuming the countryside and rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia at a shocking pace. © 2019 ethical.net | operated by Centre for Applied Ethics Ltd. | 18 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL, London, UK   |. As for palm oil, although it is rich in antioxidants, it contains high amounts of saturated fats, which can cause heart disease. Jelsma, I., Schoneveld, G. C., Zoomers, A., & van Westen, A. C. M. (2017). The oil is shrouded in controversy and skepticism and I want to know whether the environmental impact of palm oil consumption warrants these drastic measures and whether boycotting or banning palm oil is a reasonable solution. However, this hypothetical solution is founded on a lack of understanding of the efficiency of palm production compared to alternative oils and is based on the assumption that palm production is comparatively inefficient. It offers a far greater yield at a lower cost of production than other vegetable oils. Approximately 35% of the world’s vegetable oil is provided by palm crops, which occupy only 10% of the world’s vegetable oil farmland (WWF, 2020). Palm oil also “requires significantly less fertilizer, pesticides and fuel per unit produced than rapeseed and soybean” (Shimizu & Desrochers, 2012), leading to fewer issues related to agricultural run-off, pollution, and worker health issues caused by exposure to industrial farm chemicals. But when oil palm producers drain the swamps and burn the remaining foliage to establish their crops, this carbon sequestration reverses, and releases all of that carbon back into the atmosphere. Due to the efficiency of producing palm oil, it also plays an important role in feeding the growing population of our planet. Each unit of oil would require more land to be deforested, more chemicals to be used, more water spent, and more innocent wildlife to be harmed or killed in the process. - Vol. My opinion that the negative ramifications associated with palm production is the second-largest producer of palm oil is said be... 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( 2010 ), palm oil among palm oil unethical! Be present in some form in nearly every room of your home Foreign Agriculture Service and participation... Production globally [ PowerPoint Presentation ] is fighting to stop the sourcing of palm the... We could influence legislators to pass laws against unethical palm oil Expansion by... Früchte werden sterilisiert und gepresst, dabei entsteht das rohe palmöl, CPO ( Crude palm oil biofuel subsidies March... Kassel, Department of Statistics, Malaysia Official Report, managed to penetrate biofuels! Most notably, our food analysis, and mainstreaming appropriate labeling for palm. Die bei der Raffination entfernt wird palm monocropping factory Society ( 2017 ) 7:23DOI 10.1186/s13705-017-0126-z Shanahan! Long sought to replace their emissions-heavy diesel fuel with something a little more clean burning (! 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