The rise of the palm oil industry
The palm oil is a vegetable oil sourced from the oil of palm tree`s fruits. These blossom in tropical climate. It is cheap and it features versatility and absence of trans-fats. This makes it a common alternative to other vegetable oils for cosmetic, food, and biofuel industries. If you look around the house, you will see lots of products which contain palm oil. These include instant noodles, pizza dough, detergent, shampoo, and soap among others.
Palm oil is the highest produced and most vastly consumed vegetable oil in the universe. The world consumes more than 50 million tonnes of it every year. This is in half of every packaged product sold in the supermarket. Due to such popularity of this oil, plantations of palm trees is increasing. Moreover, it provides source of income for many farmers. Some local surrounding territories have the possibility to improve the infrastructure. Though, very often these plantations raise many issues starting from environmental and ending with social.
Unsurprisingly, people producing palm oil try to make the profit as much as possible. Though, they do not always care of the outcomes of their actions. Thus, palm tree plantations are taking place of residence of indigenous people. As a result, these people lose their homes and do not even get the compensation. Today, use of force for acquiring territory for plantation is something normal. Such countries as Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Colombia often have such practices. In addition, palm tree plantations in many cases depend on immigrant workers. As a result, there is no guarantee of proper labour conditions.
As a result of growth of palm tree plantations, there are more environmental issues. First of all, humanbeing evidences the increase in greenhouse gas emissions coming from deforestation. In fact, people are burning forests and leaving green deserts. And all these is for planting more palm trees. Unfortunately, raising level of greenhouse gas emissions leads to harmful effect on the Earth’s ecosystems. Primarily, the temperature on the Earth’s surface increases, which results in global warming.
The following environmental issue is that due to deforestation many animal species lose their habitats. Unfortunately, this is the serious threat to natural biodiversity. There are endangered species, that are suffering because very often oil producers literally kill these creatures. The biggest impact of deforestation is on orangutans. In Borneo, about 90% of forest territory now belongs to oil plantations. Besides, other animals, like tigers, Sumatran elephants and rhinoceros are under the demise. All of these animals are indigenous and on the verge of extinction.
The pressure which comes with increasing demand
Palm oil has a cheap production cost and its demand has been increasing. This places producing countries, such as Indonesia, under a lot of pressure. They have to rapidly extend their plantations and ramp up the processes of production. Unfortunately, clearing of large regions of old-growth rainforest to expand the plantations is necessary to achieve this. This frequently illegal deforestation threatens the delicate rainforest ecosystems.
Besides, they damage the habitats of endangered species, like orangutans, tigers, and elephants. Palm oil development leads to various other issues. Among them are abuse of indigenous rights, child labor, and climate change. The road networks provide poachers better access to forest areas where they steal and sell wild animals. They are typically sold as pets or used for medical resolves or killed for their body parts.
The Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil
Following the palm oil predicament, the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) put measures to officially state selected palm oil as sustainable. In order for this oil to be sustainable it must correspond 8 principles of RSPO. These criteria relate to economic, social, and environmental impact of oil production. There are many products which contain oil approved by RSPO. Clearing of the jungles is not necessary in this case.
An essential criteria is denial to harm the nature in order to increase plantations. Surely, the production cannot be totally banned. This industry is the main source of income for many people. However, there are ecofriendly ways of developing this industry. Accordingly, we must stop clearing forests or regions which sustain significant life and delicate ecosystems.
1.Utilize your voice
Support labeling of palm oil, donate to grass root organizations. Besides, you can write to organizations which use this oil for their products. There is possibility of advising them to use sustainable oil or remove it from their contents completely. Do not underrate the impact of your voice – firms will pay attention and change, when they identify unsustainable palm oil products are a problem to the consumers.
2. Shop responsibly
You can opt to make informed shopping alternatives and purchase products which do not have palm oil. Also, you can go for products which contain responsibly sourced plantations, where there is managed growth. Look for products which meet the criteria of the RSPO. Regrettably, it is difficult to identify products which use palm oil. Several countries, like New Zealand and Australia, brand palm oil as “vegetable oil.”
Usually, if a product has around 50% of the saturated fat, it is likely that vegetable oil is palm oil. This oil together with its derivatives is also known as Lauryl Sulphate or Sodium Laureth. Consequently, it makes it tricky to shop sustainably. Palm oil Investigations came up with an app for. It can assist you to navigate the supermarket and avoid products which have unsustainable oil.
3. Support eco-friendly travel
Support sustainable travel which benefits communities, shields wildlife. Moreover, you can reduce your impact on the environment by exploring the delicate and undisturbed rainforests regions. Ecotourism operations, such as Orangutan Trekking tours, provide enjoyable and educational trips for tourists. This is for tourists who reduce their carbon footprint. Besides, thus, tourists assist in preserving the rich biodiversity and fragile ecosystems of Borneo`s rainforests.
Increasing demand for palm oil is leading to expanded plantations worldwide. Many people unwittingly contribute to the conversion of forests into our daily used and consumed products. There comes a time, when people clear forests to satisfy the demand for palm oil. This footprint on the universe indicates how our behavior in one portion of the world can have adverse effects on tropical forests and the individuals living in the other part of the world. Conversion results in soil erosion, which increases sedimentation to the water sources. We have to be responsible for people and oppose these kinds of measures. This will eventually save the delicate ecosystems, as well as the endangered species and their habitats.