The Problems with Palm Oil

Bornean elephant in palm oil plantation - the problem with palm oil

Palm Oil is a conflict commodity that has to be grown in the ashes of dead rainforests. Species-rich ecosystems are destroyed simply for a constant stream of cheap consumer goods. This is what gives palm oil its evil reputation.

There are many problems with palm oil that are outlined below. These include deforestation, wild animal extinction, human rights abuses, slavery, child slavery, sexual assault of female workers, illegal land-grabbing and violent military interventions to assist in the clearance of land and quelling of land disputes.

Corporate corruption and greenwashing is rife throughout all levels of the palm oil supply chain, including and especially by corporate entities who use so-called “sustainable” palm oil.

According to a 2020 study from the journal Nature, 9,088 species on earth are threatened by non-timber crops, which includes palm oil and soy. These vividly beautiful and unique species live in the tropical rainforests of the world and must be protected. Remember you can vote with your dollars and boycott the brands responsible for deforestation. When you do, use the hashtag #Boycott4Wildlife.

Problems with Palm Oil

Palm Oil Extinction & Animal Cruelty

Palm Oil & Out Of Control Consumerism

Palm Oil Deforestation, Fires & Ecocide

Palm Oil, Human Rights Abuses & Indigenous Land-Grabbing

Palm Oil & Human Health Hazards

Palm Oil, Greenwashing & Corporate Corruption

Reasons To Be Hopeful

Here are the main problems with #palmoil and the reasons why instead of supporting the industry you should #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4Wildlife, read more

#Palmoil – both the so-called “sustainable” kind and the non sustainable kind cause #deforestation #ecocide #animal extinction and human rights abuses, but there are solutions and there is hope #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4Wildlife

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Palm Oil, Extinction & Animal Cruelty

World orangutan day cover image

Every day deserves to be World Orangutan Day

Although #WorldOrangutanDay falls on the 19th of August, in our opinion, every day deserves to be World Orangutan Day! So here is an infographic that you can download, print and share however you please.

All three species of orangutan are classified as ‘endangered’ or ‘critically endangered’ in S.E. Asia. Their main threat is palm oil deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia

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Palm Oil & Out of Control Consumerism

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Madagascar is a hotspot for biodiversity – and deforestation. Dudarev Mikhail / shutterstock

Palm Oil Deforestation, Fires & Ecocide


A 2019 World Health Organisation (WHO) report into the RSPO and palm oil industry finds extensive greenwashing of palm oil deforestation and extinction


Palm oil industry lobbying and greenwashing is like Big Tobacco – World Health Organisation (WHO) Bulletin

What does the $60 billion USD palm oil industry have in common with Big Tobacco? A lot according to this report by the World Health Organisation. Palm oil industry lobbying tactics are used to influence research into the health impacts of palm oil and also to influence consumer buying habits. The dire health and environmental impacts of palm oil are hidden from consumers by clever marketing. These lobbying, marketing and greenwashing tactics are reminiscent of tobacco and alcohol health lobbying.

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Palm Oil, Human Rights Abuses & Indigenous Land-Grabbing

A 2019 World Health Organisation (WHO) report into the palm oil industry finds extensive greenwashing of human rights abuses, deforestation, air pollution and human health impacts


September 21st: International Day of Struggle Against Monoculture Plantations

Today is ‘International Day of Struggle Against Monoculture Tree Plantations. World Rainforest Movement have produced a powerful video to highlight the Ugandan people’s struggle against BIDCO an international company partly owned by global palm oil giant Wilmar, who are taking land by force from locals by making false promises and using coercion and violence. They do so under the greenwashing protection of the RSPO

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Palm Oil & Human Health Hazards


A 2019 World Health Organisation (WHO) report into the palm oil industry found that the human health impacts of palm oil are downplayed or greenwashed by the industry


2021 Research: Outbreaks of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases are linked to changes in forest cover and palm oil global expansion

2021 Research: Outbreaks of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases are linked to changes in forest cover and palm oil global expansion

Deforestation is a major cause of biodiversity loss with a negative impact on human health. Outbreaks of vector-borne diseases such as COVID-19 are associated with increases in areas of palm oil plantations. A major 2021 study in Frontiers in Veterinary Science examined whether global scale loss and gain of forest cover and the rise of…

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Video: Slowing deforestation is the key to preventing the next pandemic – but what does that cost?

Les Kaufman, Boston University In a recent journal article, a team of biologists, medical scientists, environmental scientists and conservationists proposed a number of measures to reduce the likelihood of future pandemics, many of which originate with wild animals such as bats. They argue that spending billions of dollars per year – a fraction of the…

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Sulawesi Crested Black Macaque Macaca nigra

Deforestation on Indonesian island of Sulawesi destroys habitat of endemic primates

Jatna Supriatna, Universitas Indonesia Intensified illegal logging and expansions of palm oil plantations and farms have destroyed rain forests on Indonesia’s fourth-largest island, Sulawesi, threatening the biodiversity of a world-renowned laboratory of evolutionary biology. Sulawesi is part of a biodiversity hotspot – a region with at least 1,500 endemic plants, specifically those with developed tissues.…

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Palm Oil, Greenwashing & Corporate Corruption


A 2019 World Health Organisation (WHO) report into the palm oil industry found that the human health impacts of palm oil are downplayed or greenwashed by the industry


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Reasons to be Hopeful

Don’t lose hope. For every shadow there is light shining as well. Here are some solutions

Anthropologist and author of 'In the Shadow of the Palms' Dr Sophie Chao: In Her Own Words

Anthropologist and author of ‘In the Shadow of the Palms’ Dr Sophie Chao: In Her Own Words

Dr Sophie Chao is an environmental anthropologist and environmental humanities scholar interested in the intersections of capitalism, ecology, Indigeneity, health, and justice in the Pacific.

Palm Oil Detectives is honoured to interview to Dr Sophie Chao about her research into the impacts of palm oil on the daily lives of Marind people and other sentient beings in West Papua.

​I wrote In the Shadow of the Palms because I wanted the world to understand how deforestation and industrial oil palm expansion are undermining Indigenous ways of being in West Papua.

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About Me

Hi, I’m Palm Oil Detective’s Editor in Chief. Palm Oil Detectives is partly a consumer website about palm oil in products and partly an online community for writers, artists and musicians to showcase their work and express their love for endangered species. I have a strong voice for creatures great and small threatened by deforestation. With our collective power we can shift the greed of the retail industry and influence big palm oil to stop cutting down forests. Be bold! Be courageous! Join me and stand up for the animals with your art and your supermarket choices!

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