Palm oil is one of the most used vegetable oils in food industry but many people don't even know what it is, where it comes from and the damaging effect it has on animals, the ecosystems and our health.
Let's start by asking the question:
What is palm oil and where does it come form?
This controversial vegetable oil is made from the pulp of the fruit grown on the African oil palm tree. It has a high content of beta-carotene and saturated fats, so it is often used as a cheap vegetable oil in packaged products and in soap.
Palm oil is produced in Africa, Asia, North America and South America. However, 85% of palm oil sold is from Indonesia and Malaysia.
The oil is often found in products such as bread, ice cream, and other processed foods, as it is trans-fat free, as well as some cosmetics such as makeup and soap.
Is Palm Oil Bad for your Health?
Palm oil is a highly processed vegetable oil and food manufacturers often lean to it because of how cheap it is.
Consumption of palm oil is associated with health risks or benefits, despite it being free of trans-fat. Just because palm oil is not as bad as trans fat doesn't make it a health food. According to Harvard nutrition experts, palm oil is clearly better than high–trans fat shortenings and probably a better choice than butter, but vegetable oils that are naturally liquid at room temperature should still be your first choice.
What effects does it have on our ecosystem?
The palm oil industry is causing significant problems for the environment, animals and people in the countries involved.
In order to grow enough oil palms to harvest oil easily, the industry clears large tracts of land. The "Say No to Palm Oil" campaign cites the horrible statistics like that "an area of the size equivalent to 300 football fields in the rainforest is cleaned every hour to make way for the production of palm oil." I don't know if you've ever seen a soccer field, but they are quite massive. Cleaning 300 of them, every hour, demonstrates how devastating the palm oil industry is.
This means that the industry is contributing to massive deforestation and destroying habitats, leaving animals homeless. This affects our global biodiversity and destroys ecosystems.
While the industry destroys forests, native animals are also affected. These animals, like the orangutan, are injured, killed or forced to move elsewhere. Their habitat is destroyed, completely changing the way they live.
Clear land also means that humans have more access to these animals. Poachers and smugglers can easily find these animals and capture them because animals have nowhere to hide. Even people living in the area can now easily capture animals for food.
Unfortunately, the destruction does not stop there. The native people of the area also suffer the effects of the industry. The industry claims to bring jobs and development to the communities, but often what they do is exploit the local population.
To have access to enough land to grow oil palms, the industry has taken land from indigenous peoples, leaving them without a place where they can build their lives.
As the industry clears the jungle and takes over the local economy, many have no choice but to become plantation workers because there are simply no other jobs available. Like animals, their entire way of life has been interrupted by an industry that only seeks to make a profit, regardless of the local or global environment, the animals or the people involved.
Why don't we use palm oil?
We are a vegan and cruelty-free brand that advocates and cares for the environment. We are constantly looking for ways to improve.
The palm oil industry is harmful and does not respect the environment. Palm oil has contributed to the massive degradation of land, dead animals and exploited indigenous peoples.
The most sustainable solution is to raise awareness about these problems and avoid palm oil completely, so we see no reason to use this ingredient in our products.