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The Issue Of Palm Oil

February 5, 2009

Around  30 million MT of Palm oil are produced each year, providing  much needed income to the rural economies of South East Asia, Central America and parts of Africa.  With Palm oil being used in the food, cosmetics and biofuels markets, our thirst for this product is contributing to the destruction of large swathes of rainforest.

As part of the cosmetics industry I thought it was important to look at this issue, especially as two of the world’s largest cosmetic companies, Unilever and Proctor and Gamble play a large part in this market. In November 2007 Greenpeace published a document outlining the Palm Oil issue. It can be viewed from the link below:

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/cooking-the-climate-full

I have been to Indonesia and seen the deforestation first hand. In 1996 I worked with a charity called Treckforce (www.treckforce.com.au). I saw the logging boats and saw the peat bogs bogs drained. That was over ten years ago. It’s a wonder that there is any forest left.

So what does the future look like? Well, having read through the Greenpeace document you would believe that the big bad business world is doing nothing to help the situation. The Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil is portrayed as a “Boys club”, choosing business profits over ethics.  I do believe that the future can be brighter.  Rather than doing nothing, Unilever for one is taking steps to ensure that by 2015 all of their Palm Oil is produced sustainably. I am sure that other industry players are also supporting this initiative.

http://www.unilever.com.au/ourcompany/newsandmedia/pressreleases/Sustainable-palm-oil.asp

It is important that issues like this one are brought into the public domain -after all, the products that are made from the palm oil would not exist if there were no market for them.  My issue is this – all too often we, the general public get to hear about the problems being created by our consumer greed but where is the  equal coverage of the solutions being offered by business (and governments)?

With a fair hearing of both sides of the argument we can make informed choices. After all, we all want a better and more sustainable future don’t we?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2010 2:21 pm

    Great news posts here. But it will be a great honour for me if you can spend just a little of your valuable times to give a comment on my Indonesia-news Blog.
    thanks alot

  2. May 31, 2017 3:07 pm

    We are in 2017 now. Did Unilever achieved their goal of 100% of sustainable Palm Oil? By reading their website it seems that they are still trying to achieve that.

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      May 31, 2017 3:09 pm

      No. The whole RSPO thing has turned into a bit of a disaster. One can only hope that the RSPO tighten up their procedures and that Unilever participate in that.

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