The demand for palm oil is global. So if any individual country stopped using palm oil, it would simply be bought by someone else. That country would also lose its ability to promote sustainable production practices.
Banning palm oil won't save the rainforest - supporting GreenPalm could
There’s also the tricky question of what we would replace palm oil with.
The production of soya oil presents similar problems for the environment, and also requires the substantial use of pesticides and herbicides. It would be difficult to produce sufficient quantities of rapeseed or sunflower oil and animal fats present cholesterol problems, which is why we turned to vegetable oils in the first place.
The underlying reality is that the global population is growing and there are many more mouths to feed. Added to that, 20% of palm oil is grown by smallholders who rely upon it as their sole source of income. The oil palm tree, which produces more edible oil per hectare than any other oil producing plant, therefore has a key role to play in feeding the planet.
This is perhaps why so many environmental and social activists support the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), including the WWF, Oxfam and the Rainforest Alliance. Others, such as Greenpeace, are more critical but even they are not calling for a palm oil ban. Here’s what Greenpeace has to say:
“We're not against palm oil or the palm oil industry. What we are against is any palm oil that comes from plantations converted from forest and peatland areas.”
The RSPO is not yet perfect but it’s important to understand that it is still, in reality, in its infancy. Added to that, it has set itself an enormous, global challenge. However the need continuously to improve is enshrined in the RSPO’s Principles and Criteria.
We believe that the RSPO represents the best chance we have to work together to tackle the environmental and social problems surrounding palm oil production. We would therefore urge people to get involved and support the work of the RSPO.