Published on: June 7, 2022
When you think of palm oil, you might think of all of the products and foods it’s incorporated into, its versatility, or maybe its many health benefits. However, this amazing oil is too often associated with the palm oil industry, whose harmful practices have been a huge cause of deforestation. However, with sustainable palm oil, deforestation can be reversed, habitats can be preserved and even helped, and animals and local farmers alike can benefit from these sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.
With sustainable practices, we can all benefit from this oil’s many uses and benefits. But what can sustainable palm oil do for you? Let’s learn more about what palm oil is and how it’s used – plus how sustainability can reverse the harmful impact of industry practices.
Palm oil is a vegetable oil that comes from the fruit produced by oil palm trees. There are two types of palm oil: crude palm oil, which comes from the fruit of these trees, and palm kernel oil, which comes from the kernel or out of the fruit.
These trees are originally native to Africa but were brought over to Southeast Asia around 100 years ago. Though they started in this region as an ornamental crop, countries like Indonesia and Malaysia have since become the top producers of palm oil in the world. Just these two countries by themselves produce over 85% of the world’s palm oil supply.
Essentially, palm oil is in pretty much everything. Because of its versatility, it’s in nearly half of the packaged products found in most supermarkets. From cleaning supplies to makeup, and toothpaste, to foods like pizza or doughnuts, to just being used as regular cooking oil, palm oil can do just about anything. It’s also used in animal feed and is even used as biofuel in some countries. What can’t palm oil do?
This oil’s popularity skyrocketed due to its versatility and ease of production. It can be liquid, can be semi-solid, and is resistant to oxidation so it gives many products long shelf life. It’s also very efficient and can be produced in high quantities when using only a small amount of land, which makes it a good source of income for farmers.
Because palm oil is so widely used and so versatile, many farmers and manufacturers want to produce it in mass amounts to fuel the demand for the product. Unfortunately, this has led to harmful, unsustainable processes that have resulted in deforestation, species displacement, and harm to small farmers and their businesses.
To keep this oil in plentiful supply without causing further harm to the environment and habitats, further pressure needs to be put on manufacturers, farmers, and consumers to turn to sustainable habits. With the right farmer techniques certified by the RSPO, farmers, consumers, and the environment alike can all benefit from this amazing oil.
Learn more about sustainable palm oil and how to work with our partners in sustainability through Palm Done Right.
Palm can be grown for good, bringing benefits to:
Together, we can influence change for: