The last thing on your mind as you’re munching away on your buttered toast is a rainforest thousands of kilometres away. And yet, it’s quite likely that parts of your breakfast may have imperiled that fragile ecosystem. How exactly? Here’s the story.
If you’ve heard about palm oil (found in thousands of processed food, household and personal care products, from toast to lipstick), you probably think it’s bad news. Indeed when produced irresponsibly, it harms tropical forests and threatens wildlife such as orangutans, elephants and tigers.
That’s because valuable forests have been destroyed to plant palm oil plantations, destroying the habitats of countless species while also threatening the well being and livelihoods of communities that depend on the forest and contributing to climate change. Sometimes the easiest way for companies or smallholders to clear forests in order to grow palm oil is to burn them, creating smoke and haze that also threatens the health of animals and people across the region. But did you know that there is another way? In fact, not all palm oil is bad.
More and more companies that produce, trade, invest in, finance or buy palm oil are trying hard to make sure they don’t harm tropical rainforests, wildlife and the communities that depend on them.
They’re doing this by switching to responsible production practices – such as the standard set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) – and investing in supply chains that respect both people and nature including forests.
Responsible buyers of palm oil work with their suppliers to know where their palm oil comes from and ensure it is sustainable. They actively work with industry, government and civil society and invest in palm oil producing areas to ensure the industry has a sustainable future.
But there’s a problem. Having profiteered for years from palm oil that has been produced irresponsibly, many are still unwilling to adopt approaches that are pro-environment and pro-people. This urgently needs to change.
WWF asks companies to support sustainable palm oil, taking actions that ensure their own supply chain is free from deforestation and destruction of nature. There is no excuse. Companies should have clean supply chains with 100% of their palm oil certified as sustainable, and should be taking steps to support a responsible palm oil future.
We need your help – to show businesses that you expect them to join the sustainable palm oil movement, use certified sustainable palm oil in their products and to do their part to reduce deforestation, wildlife loss and conflicts with communities.