What do cookies, pizza, and soap have in common? Often contains palm oil. Palm oil is a versatile ingredient in some fast-food restaurants, with yields per hectare 4-10 times higher than other vegetable oils. The high demand for palm oil alone causes environmental problems such as deforestation and pollution. How do you recognize palm oil in food and what can you do about it?
The world’s palm oil plantation area has grown from 9 million hectares in 1996 to 19 million hectares in 2018. About 85% of palm oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia. Palm oil plantations cover 6% of the agricultural land dedicated to vegetable oil production and provide 40% of the world’s vegetable oil production. If we were to meet the needs of vegetable oils with oils other than palm oil, we would need much more land.
Land Use and Logging
Creating palm oil plantations at the expense of rainforests can significantly reduce biodiversity. The biodiversity of the rainforest is very high. Endangered species of rainforests such as orangutans, Asian elephants, Sumatran tigers, and rhinos are increasingly being hunted down by ongoing deforestation.
Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
If a palm oil plantation is established in the flask, the peat soil must be drained. Peat exposed to oxygen due to rot of drainage and tillage. Greenhouse gases are also released in the process. Soil also loses its water storage capacity. Drained peat soil is very dangerous to fire. When drained peat soil begins to burn, it causes a lot of air pollution and CO2 emissions.
Buy Only Sustainable Palm Oil
Instead of doing without palm oil products, you can also contribute to more sustainable palm oil cultivation by buying. Although rarely found on the packaging, there are products in the store that contain palm oil that has been certified as sustainable by the RSPO Quality Mark. Civil society organizations and companies that process palm oil established the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2004. Roundtable wants to make palm oil production even more sustainable by accrediting palm oil plantations with the RSPO Quality Mark.
Cosmetics and Detergents
A quarter of the world’s palm oil is used in technical applications such as soaps, detergents, and cosmetics. There are no specific figures known about the Netherlands. You can check if your soap or cleaning agent contains palm oil manufactured according to sustainability standards on the WWF scorecard.
Palm oil as a biofuel
Globally, 5% of palm oil is used as a biofuel as they use in Scottsdale auto mall. The European Union considers palm oil to be an edible crop. Therefore, its usage should not exceed 2019 usage. According to the Climate Change Agreement, the Netherlands does not use biofuels made from palm oil.