Take Action! on Palm Oil for #PaceEarthMonth
If you are a frequent reader of the labels on your food, you may notice that many of the processed foods we love – Girl Scout cookies, chips and crackers, peanut butter, and even Nutella – contain palm oil. In fact, according to the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), U.S. palm oil imports have increased by 485% in the last decade.
What’s the Problem?
The increased use of and demand for palm oil has become one of the leading causes of rainforest destruction worldwide. The loss of rainforest in Indonesia could reach up to 98% of what it once had by 2022, according to the UN’s Environment Program (UNEP). The shrinking forest is leading to a decrease in the rich biodiversity of Indonesia, as well as the deaths of thousands of Sumatran orangutans. The Critically Endangered Sumatran tiger and Sumatran rhinoceros, both with populations of only hundreds left in the wild, are also urgently threatened by palm oil expansion.
In addition to the environmental devastation, palm oil production is also negatively impacting the people who live in the areas where palm oil is being sourced. According to RAN, “the Indonesian palm oil monitoring group SawitWatch has identified 663 ongoing land disputes between palm oil companies and rural communities.”
What can we do?
Organizations like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), “a non-profit association that brings together palm oil producers, processors and traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, and environmental and social NGOs to develop and implement a global standard for sustainable palm oil,” are working to make the production of palm oil safer for animals, the environment, and the people who live in and near the affected rainforests.
Buying products labeled CSPO may help to support sustainable palm oil production; however, some organizations criticize RSPO for not protecting critical peatlands and for its potentially weak standards for the certifying the sustainability of palm oil products.
According to the Rainforest Action Network, the best option is to decrease the demand for palm oil, sustainable or otherwise, by asking producers to cut it out of the food we eat and products we use. Their petition asks the Snack Food 20—companies that control some of the best-known snack food brands in the world—to remove Conflict Palm Oil tied to rainforest destruction and orangutan extinction from their products.
Take Action Today!
Want to stop palm oil’s impacts on our environment?
Sign the petition HERE to support removing palm oil from our food!
Not sure if you’re ready to sign the petition, or disagree that we should ask for its removal?
Let us know more in the comments here or on our Facebook page!