Palm oil is linked to rapid loss of biodiversity when produced unsustainably. It is found in around 50 per cent of packaged foods at the supermarket but is mostly hidden under the guise of ‘vegetable oil’.
Sumatran Tigers are the smallest of all tigers with their size assisting them to hunt through the dense, tropical forests of Indonesia which are sadly being destroyed by unsustainable palm oil plantations. With fewer than 400 of these breathtaking tigers left, there has never been a more important time to conserve their habitat.
The beautiful songs of the gibbons could once be heard throughout southeast Asia but sadly they are becoming rarer and rarer. Habitat loss in both Indonesia and Malaysia due to the palm oil industry burning and clearing vast quantities of land is taking a drastic toll on gibbons.
In their rainforest home in Sumatra, Indonesia, orang-utans are no longer safe from harm. The habitat of these critically endangered apes is fast disappearing due to unsustainable palm oil products with farmers first burning the forests to the ground then clearing their trees to make way of oil palms.
It’s time for us all to act.
By having mandatory labelling of palm oil on products, this will put the power back into the hands of consumers who will have the choice to buy products containing certified sustainable palm oil.
This will put pressure on manufacturers to clean up their act and only source 100% Segregated and sustainable palm oil as certified by the independent governing body the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). New Zealand and Australia continue to lag behind the US, Canada and the EU, where labelling of vegetable oils is already mandatory, and has been a powerful driver of sustainable practices. Legislative change in the EU in 2014 resulted in a 67% spike in the uptake of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).
Consumers can show their support for mandatory labelling of palm oil in food by writing to their MP.
PALM OIL FAST FACTS
Palm oil is now the world’s most widely consumed vegetable oil with current global production (62 million metric tonnes) predicted to double by 2020
- Labelling was strongly supported by public health groups including the Australian Public Health Association, Nutrition Australia and the Australian Medical Association
- 92% of New Zealanders and 84% of Australians support mandatory palm oil labelling (UMR Research 2016)
- New Zealand’s Ministry of Health itself warns that consuming too much palm oil is bad for health: http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/food-and-physical-activity/healthy-eating/making-healthier-food-choices
- Around 90% of the world’s palm oil is produced in Indonesia and Malaysia. In these 2 countries, deforestation to grow it is decimating vital rainforest ecosystems and driving wildlife species like orangutan, tiger, rhino and elephant towards extinction. This is despite non-forested land being available
- Labelling palm oil is already a legal requirement in Europe, the United States and Canada, and is a powerful driver of sustainable practices. Subsequent to mandatory labelling coming into force in Europe in 2014, there was a 67% spike in the uptake of sustainable palm oil.
- Palm oil can be grown sustainably on non-forested land, but currently only around 14% of palm oil that is produced is Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) – which certifies palm oil plantations to ensure they are deforestation-free.