To boycott or not to boycott

In Forest, Haze
© James Morgan / WWF-International

3 reasons NOT to boycott palm oil products.

1. Palm oil has lifted millions out of poverty

Three million people are directly employed by the palm oil industry in Indonesia alone. The expansion of the palm oil industry has given even more people opportunities, such as education, that they would not have otherwise had. Boycott palm oil and you unintentionally take away a regular income and opportunities for millions of people.

2. Palm oil is the most efficient oil in the world

Palm oil produces up to NINE times more oil per hectare than its closest alternatives like rapeseed, sunflower, soy or peanut oil. So it takes less land to grow more palm oil.  Plus, it is a very versatile product and it can be adapted for many uses. In shampoos it adds gloss, in lipstick it fixes colour. As a result palm oil is in around 50% of the goods on on supermarket shelves from food products like noodles and pizza to soaps, detergents and pharmaceuticals. Like it or not, it is almost inextricably woven into our lives.

comparisons of alternative oils

3. Boycotting palm oil could lead to MORE deforestation

The demand for vegetable oil is not going to go away. In fact individual consumption of vegetable oil has grown more than any other food in the last 30 years. Production of palm oil, in particular, has doubled over the last decade and is expected to double again by 2050. If we stop using palm oil it is likely to be replaced with another, less efficient, crop and more land will be needed to meet that growing demand for vegetable oil. The result could be further deforestation and faster loss of species. Not something that anyone wants to see happen.

WWF has weighed it all up and we believe supporting sustainable, RSPO, palm oil is the best bet to limit deforestation, species loss, haze pollution and climate change. By encouraging the uptake of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) we can tackle the serious social and environmental problems associated with unsustainable palm oil production.

3 things to do instead of boycotting

  1. Start now by insisting on a switch to sustainable palm oil in your everyday products. Pledge your support at XtheHaze.org.
  2. Check out the WWF Palm Oil Scorecard to see which companies are heading towards 100% sustainable palm oil and support their products. Our CSPO options are still way too limited, so we need to keep up the push for more choices. Also look out for updated WWF Scorecards, including a Singapore Scorecard, coming in 2016, and see just how much progress companies are really making.
  3. Support WWF’s emergency appeal to get medical supplies, safety masks and clothing, pumps and fire extinguishers to those still fighting fires. And support WWF as we rehabilitate and replant forests in Kalimantan.

 

 

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