What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. Oil palms are originally from Western Africa, but can flourish wherever heat and rainfall are abundant. Today, palm oil is grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, with 85% of all palm oil globally produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia; but most of the time not using sustainable measures.
Harm to Animals and the Environment
A large proportion of palm oil expansion occurs at the expense of biodiversity and ecosystems in the countries it is produced. Currently, a third of all mammal species in Indonesia are considered to be critically endangered as a consequence of this unsustainable development that is rapidly encroaching on their habitat.
In Borneo and Sumatra, the main threat to the survival of orangutan populations in the wild is the huge expansion of palm oil plantations, with methods such as slash and burn being used to clear the land, driving the orangutans from their habitats. Over 90% of orangutan habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years, and as such, is considered “a conservation emergency” by the UN. An estimated 1000-5000 orangutans are killed each year for this development. The orangutan is a keystone species and plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem.
There are over 300,000 different animals found throughout the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra, many of which are injured, killed and displaced during deforestation. In addition, palm oil development increases accessibility of animals to poachers and wildlife smugglers who capture and sell wildlife as pets, use them for medicinal purposes or kill them for their body parts. The destruction of rainforests in Borneo and Sumatra is therefore not only a conservation emergency, but a major animal welfare crisis as well.
Harm to Humans
While palm oil production does provide employment to many people in Southeast Asia, the industry has also had devastating impacts on groups of people in this region. All too often, the government’s main interest in the country’s economy leads them to allow corporations to take the land owned by indigenous peoples for their own financial benefit.
The palm oil industry has been linked to major human rights violations, including child labour in remote areas of Indonesia and Malaysia.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was established in 2004 to promote the production and use of sustainable palm oil for people, the planet and prosperity.
The RSPO is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to unite stakeholders form all sectors of the palm oil industry, including environmental and social NGOs. RSPO is currently the largest sustainability-focused organization within the palm oil sector, however its standards do not ban deforestation or destruction of peatlands for the development of oil palm plantations.
AT INDI & ARY WE SUPPORT COMPANIES THAT CHOOSE TO BE PALM-OIL FREE OR ARE RSPO CERTIFIED OR OBTAIN THEIR PALM-OIL FROM A RSPO CERTIFIED SUPPLIER.
OUR GOAL IS TO END THE USE OF PALM-OIL