Buying power helps wildlife

 

Palm oil is used in thousands of products people use every single day, from chocolate to shampoo.  The problem is, that the huge demand for palm oil is destroying the world's rainforests.

Ethical Consumer and the Rainforest Foundation have joined forces to launch a campaign to encourage consumers to buy best rated products.

As most forest land in Africa is ‘owned’ by the state, the areas for new palm oil plantations have mostly been signed away Africa – the new palm oil frontier with little or no concern for the many tens of thousands of people already living there.  Oil palm is native to Africa’s equatorial region, and tends to grow best wherever rainforests are found. 

In the forests of West and Central Africa, governments have given vast areas to mostly Asian companies in recent years to clear the land for large plantations of oil palm.  The people who live there depend on the forest for wild foods, medicine, fresh water, firewood and wood for building their homes.

The production of palm oil is usually linked in people's minds to the destruction of irreplaceable rainforests in places such as in Indonesia and Malaysia, home to wildlife such as the orang utan and tiger.  And some of the same companies responsible for this destruction are now expanding into Africa.  Areas important for great apes such as gorillas and chimpanzees are in danger, along with the habitat of many other wildlife species.

Olam, a palm oil company in Gabon, has committed to avoid destroying ‘high conservation value’ forest, and has even given such areas back to the government.  We need more palm oil companies to do the same. 

Ethical Consumer has palm oil guides to show which products have palm oil, and thus give you the power to avoid products with it.  Here's how they came up with their rating.

They've rated the palm oil usage of companies that produce:

  • chocolate
  • bread
  • biscuits
  • skincare
  • make-up
  • hair products
  • party food
  • cleaning products

Hopefully we, as consumers, can force companies to use more sustainably sourced palm oil and not cut down the native forests in the Congo basin in Africa. 

So here's the guide.   Take a look at it, and highlight those products you are using now which are are harmful to the rainforests and which are most likely to protect the animals you & I care about.  

Let's turn our consumer power into a voice to help animals.