Palm Oil: What’s Being Done

While there is understandably so much talk about the environmentally
inconsiderate practices of palm oil producers, it is important to look at progress
that’s been made toward sustainable use of this product.

Recently, The Independent posted an article on Nestle’s recent decision to have its
palm oil supply chain audited for sustainable practices. This came after scathing in-
person and internet-based protests conducted by Greenpeace. More than a million
people viewed the commercials, consequently voicing their concerns in various
forums on the internet. Considering this positive step, we should be empowered
by the way our concerns can be heard and passed along. We need to see who is
changing minds and what they are doing to change them.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a very useful resource. Its
website provides users with up to date lists of all companies working to utilize palm
oil sustainably. Some of the largest companies such as Kraft, Pepsico, and Mars have
all pledged to use only palm oil from certified growers. The new logo, released just
days ago, will help consumers easily identify products from companies that have
adopted sustainable practices. While all this pressure is changing the practices of
multinational companies, they only account for a small percentage of total palm oil
production worldwide.

Biofuel is an emerging market for palm oil, especially across Europe. To compete
with other fuel sources, palm oil must remain inexpensive. Adopting sustainable
practices does raise the premium on raw materials and many companies are
struggling with the choice to profit more or protect the environment. Overall, the

success of the campaign against Nestle should be a reminder that we as consumers
can keep these organizations in check if we vigilantly voice our concerns.

To learn more visit the RSPO website:
http://www.rspo.org/

Or read The Independent article on the subject at:
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/online-protest-drives-
nestl-to-environmentally-friendly-palm-oil-1976443.html

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