Annalise Draws for Greenpeace
Everything on this site is free from palm oil, so you don’t have to go label-hunting. Some ‘sustainable forests’ have found burned-to-death orangutans inside, defending their homes and babies. Vegans are increasingly concerned at the amount of companies (and organisations) accepting this term. Greenpeace say the oft-quoted ’round table on sustainable palm oi’ is as useful as a chocolate teapot. RSPO took 14 years to ban members from destroying rainforests and still has not enforced the rule totally, with 75% of forest fires in Indonesia linked to palm oil production from members. 10 years ago, major brands promised everything would be okay by 2020. Yet still endangered creatures are killed daily – to make crisps, chocolate bars and soap.
Dutch margarine company The Flower Farm says that if the average family of four used palm-oil-free margarine, it could save over 17 kilos of palm oil (that’s over 44 square metres of plantation each year). 75% of oil in Indonesia and Malaysian Borneo certified as ‘sustainable’ by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil occupy land that was forest and/or wildlife habitat, 30 years ago. The fact that someone ‘deforested’ the area a few years before does not justify a sustainability label by a certification scheme today. Satellite images found that many ‘certified palm oil concessions’ had indeed replaced the habitats of endangered mammals and biodiverse tropical forests in Borneo and Sumatra, over the last few years (homes to rhinos, tigers, orangutans and elephants).
Also found in soap (‘sodium palmate’ if not sodium tallowate (beef fat), palm oil is also found in cleaning products, laundry goods and most chip shops use it. There are alternatives (like local rapeseed oil, which also helps prevent climate change, by not importing oil from the other side of the world). Countries like Indonesia are far better earning money from eco-tourism, to help protect these beautiful creatures.
This orangutan held out his hand to help a man in snake-infected waters, thinking he had fallen in. In fact the man was carefully moving the snakes out of the way, to protect the orangutan. He did not take the hand, as he did not want the orangutan to get too trusting of humans.
Solitary orangutans will defend their babies to the death, with ‘forest schools’ left to pick up the tragic pieces. Recently, Hope the orangutan was shot 74 times, stabbed and left blinded (and her baby killed), just so merchants could get more land to build palm oil plantations. Half of Borneo’s orangutans have disappeared in 16 years, and over 75% of Indonesia’s national park has become illegal plantations (previously home to orangutans, elephants and tigers). 193 critically endangered species are at risk of extinction, due to production of palm oil.
Even Ethical Consumer rates companies as to whether they use RSPO palm oil, surely they have read articles by Greenpeace? There are now petitions to ask vegan brands to stop using palm oil (and stop calling it ‘sustainable’). For now, unless you choose to cook/bake with no oil, here are some alternatives to common items containing palm oil: also look for products with palm oil free certification (another scheme is run by Orangutan Alliance).
Where to Find Palm Oil Free Products
- Vegan Butters with No Palm Oil
- Vegan Crackers with No Palm Oil
- Vegan Biscuits with No Palm Oil
- Nut & Seed Butters with No Palm Oil
- Make Your Own Palm-Oil-Free Pastry
Beauty Products with No Palm Oil
See the post on beauty products with no palm oil to find soaps and other items that are palm-oil-free. Also be aware of some other items (like fabric conditioner) that may contain it. The best option is nearly always to visit the local indie health store or farm shop, to find palm-oil-free brands, that are vegan and not tested on animals.
How Palm Oil Ended Up In Everything
Planet Palm is a book on how palm oil ended up in everything, and ended up endangering the planet. Whether it’s instant noodles or chocolate bars, lipsticks or fuel tanks – learn what palm oil is, and why it dominates our lives. Jocelyn C Zuckerman travels across four continents and back two centuries, to find answers about the most widely used vegetable oil on earth.
This little palm fruit has played an outsized role in world history and economic development. But the multi-billion-dollar palm oil business has been built on stolen land and slave labour. It spurred colonisation and swept away lives and cultures. Today, its fires and mass deforestation generate carbon emissions to rival those of entire industrialised nations, and they’ve pushed animals like orangutans to the brink of extinction.
Combining history, travelogue and investigative reporting, this book offers an unsettling urgent look at a global industry that has become an environmental, public health, animal welfare and human rights disaster.