I hope you’re all having a great week! I bought a new product yesterday that I was so excited about. It was a peanut butter/ cookie/ chocolate spread that had been imported to Australia from the USA. It reminded me of all of those delicious nut butter spreads I see on the US blogs and wish I could get my hands on here. I immediately bought some and took it home.
When I got home I read the ingredients. Usually I read the ingredients in the store before I buy a new product, but I had the girls with me and we were a bit rushed so I didn’t stop and think about it.
I scanned the list and saw Palm Oil. I was really disappointed.
I try to avoid products made with Palm Oil. Unless they clearly state that they are made with Certified Sustainable Palm Oil. Not because I have a problem with the nutritional makeup of Palm Oil- to be honest I haven’t even really considered that aspect of it. However, according the United Nations Environment Programme Palm Oil plantations are the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia. (Source)
Deforestation results in a loss of habitat for many many species, including some you would all recognise- the Asian elephant, Asian tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros and the orangutan. (Source)
The Orangutan is Critically Endangered. They are being killed at an horrific rate both in Borneo and Sumatra and deforestation is a leading cause. In the last ten years the orangutan populations have decreased by 50 percent in the wild and 80 percent of their habitat has been altered or lost. (Source)
According to Zoos Victoria palm oil is in half of all grocery products on our shelves. (Source) When you start to look into it it really does seem that way. Zoos Victoria encourages us all as consumers not to avoid buying palm oil but to choose products that state they are Certified Sustainable Palm Oil. (Source) They say that avoiding palm oil altogether could simply shift farming and manufacturing to other oils that require even more land and forest destruction and really doesn’t solve the problem. By choosing products that are Certified Sustainable you are helping to promote and ensure sustainable practices that do not result in further deforestation and loss of habitat. (Source)
I have honestly never seen a Certified Sustainable Palm Oil badge on any products. It is something I am going to have to look further into and do more research. Essentially at the moment the best thing that we as consumers do is to be aware and where possible avoid buying palm oil that is not Certified Sustainable. For those who want to do more you can also write to the companies behind your favourite products and requesting that they only use Certified Sustainable products and that they clearly label their products.
Please if you are interested do your own research. It is quite alarming. There is lots of information out there and I know that as consumers we are constantly bombarded. But putting our money where our mouth is can be a powerful force.