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palm oil: good or bad?

Introduction

Palm oil production has exploded since the 1980s and now accounts for 36% of world total vegetable oil production.It is the single most consumed vegetable oil in the world.

 Palm oil production

The natively West African tree is now grown predominantly in two countries, Malaysia and Indonesia, producing together 84% of world palm oil supply.

The good side of palm oil

Palm oil production has expanded 50 fold in 60 years. Such extraordinary growth is due to the rising demand for vegetable oils and the fact palm oil is a very productive crop.

Palm produces 36% of the world’s oil, but uses less than 6% of croplands devoted to oil production. It has therefore been a natural choice to meet this demand, and and an essential supply of calories and nutritious fat to the growing world population.

The trouble with palm oil

Land use to grow palm has more than quadrupled since 1980, and that expansion came at the expense of tropical forest in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Now is boycotting palm oil altogether a solution? Not really. As the data below shows, palm oil is an exceptional productive crop. Substituting palm by another crop for vegetable oil production would dramatically increase demand for land. It would also increase the cost of many essential food items.

 land use for vegetable oil

 

Our position on palm oil usage

27% of world palm oil is used for industrial usage such as surfactants and soaps, and about 5% is used to produce biodiesel, competing with food usage.

Our position is, when possible, we avoid using palm oil for personal care products to avoid competing with food applications and further increase pressure for additional deforestation.

Palm oil cannot always be fully avoided due to its favorable cost and unique lipidic profile, and when necessary we choose suppliers with sustainability certification such as RSPO.



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