In recent years there has been a large amount of coverage of palm oil and the negative impact its usage is having on the environment. But for many of us, what palm oil is remains a mystery. In this article, we will outline the issues with using it, where to find it and how to avoid it.
Palm oil is a vegetable oil that is grown on the African oil palm. Originally this palm was only found in Africa, but it thrives in hot climates with plenty of rain and now can be found growing throughout most of the world’s continents. One of the biggest global concerns is the plantations that have now grown up on the islands of Indonesia. Our particular concern is those found on Sumatra, the home of the last few hundred Sumatran tigers. The tiger as a whole is a species on the brink of extinction, but with recent moves forward on these Sumatran plantations the Sumatran tiger’s habitat has been severely reduced, leading to concerns that the subspecies will be extinct in under five years. Other animals such as elephants and orangutans are also affected by these plantations, which have displaced thousands of animals from their homes.
With this in mind, many organisations have been raising their concerns over food and other products that contain palm oil. There are of course other ingredients that can be used instead and more sustainable options that would be far less harmful to the environment. However, until these solutions can be implemented, a lot of people are now simply boycotting any company or product that contains palm oil. After all, these businesses revolve around money, and if no one is buying their product, then they will be forced to find a new way.