Why is palm oil bad for the environment and what can people do to help?

Palm oil emerged as the main source of the controversy after the Christmas advertisement, which Iceland's supermarket chain considered to be too political by regulators.

An ad originally created by Greenpeace contains an orangutan, which mourns the loss of a forest house that has been destroyed to make it possible for the palm oil plantations.

Many stressed that the film, which is too political, only presented the devastating reality of the palm oil industry and the impact it has on nature.

The debate will not be anything new to anyone following the global environmental causes, or about the problems of Indonesian orangutans.

Despite well-established correlations with corruption, the persecution of indigenous people and the plagiarism of extinction of iconic species remains a key component of many everyday products.

1 What is palm oil?

Various vegetable oil derived from fruits and oilseed oil, although it originated in parts of West Africa, the trees are mostly grown on huge plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, which produce 86 percent of the world's supply.

About 66 million tonnes of palm oil are produced each year and, according to some estimates, the substance is found in half of all packaged products in supermarkets in the United Kingdom.

2 Why do we need so much palm oil?

It is used in a wide range of products, including shampoo, candles, lipstick, bread and chocolate, has many useful properties made by a usable cleaning agent, help with cooking and improve the texture of foods.

It is also a critical ingredient in fuels, as nearly half of the palm oil imported into the European Union has been used to produce biodiesel. However, this demand for current plans is likely to be reduced in order to gradually abandon palm oil by 2030.

It is important that palm oil is cheap. Oil palm oil is a very productive product that produces a large amount of oil for relatively little cost.

Due to the enormous global demand, palm oil has become a major component of the economies of Southeast Asia, which employs millions of people.

3 How does it hurt the environment?

Oil palm trees grow well in low-calorie, tropical areas that tend to rainforests and peatlands. They are home to a number of endangered species, including orangutans, rhinos and tigers.

Creating massive plantations meant that these rich ecosystems were replaced by monocultures – "green deserts" in which domestic animals and plants can not grow. Combating forests in order to contribute to the pollution of the environment with palm trees and deforestation is a major factor in greenhouse gas emissions.

In total, it has been planned that more than 27 million hectares will be covered by palm oil plantations.

While the development of palm oil brought great economic opportunities to some local people, it was also associated with the persecution of autochthonous groups, as developers move and exploit the earth.

4 Why are orangutans especially at risk?

Orangutans live high in the forest, and their habitats are the main target for spreading palm oil operations.

The number of these big monkeys in Borneo was halved between 1999 and 2015, which was directly linked to palm oil. Not only is the destruction of forests robbed of orangutans by up to 90 percent of their homes, they are sometimes actively destroyed by those involved in this industry.

Greenpeace recently found that Cadbury's chocolate-producing Mondelez is responsible for the destruction of 70,000 hectares of habitat for these great monkeys since 2016.

5 What can people do to help?

Because palm oil is so penetrating, it's hard to avoid it. Stamps understand that people may try to avoid palm oil and often give them other names in ingredients lists, such as "vegetable oil" or "vegetable fat".

However, it is possible to buy products made with palm oil, which they consider sustainable. A round table on sustainable palm oil confirms that some palm oil is sustainable if its production is considered socially and environmentally responsible and consumers can take care of their label on the products.

Non-governmental organizations have convinced many of the largest companies to sign global commitments to release "dirty" palm oil, but there is a lot of skepticism regarding the effectiveness of these measures now. The companies were only accused of adhering to the most basic requirements for sustainability, which means that forests are still at risk.

Therefore, consumers can use their own purchases, but they can also help companies that invest in petitions and pressurize pressure to switch to the production of palm oil that does not endanger some of the most pre-existing ecosystems on Earth.

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