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 & Wild Animal Extinction

Palm Oil & Rampant Out-Of-Control Consumerism

Palm Oil, Human Rights Abuses, Slavery & Violence

Palm Oil, Deforestation the Spread of Zoonotic Diseases from Animals to Humans

Palm Oil, Greenwashing & Corporate Corruption

Finding Hope, Resilience & Solutions

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 & Wild Animal Extinction

Palm oil & rampant out-of-control consumerism

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Palm Oil & Human rights abuses, slavery & violence

Palm Oil, Deforestation & the Spread of Zoonotic Diseases from Animals to Humans

Greenwashing stock image - globe on fire

Deforestation can raise local temperatures by up to 4.5℃ – and heat untouched areas 6km away

Sally Thompson, The University of Western Australia; Débora Corrêa, The University of Western Australia; John Duncan, The University of Western Australia, and Octavia Crompton, Duke University Forests directly cool the planet, like natural evaporative air conditioners. So what happens when you cut them down?In tropical countries such as Indonesia, Brazil and the Congo, rapid deforestation…

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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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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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Palm Oil, Greenwashing & Corporate Corruption

Greenwashing stock image - globe on fire

What is greenwashing?

Over the course of the 20th century, capitalism preserved its momentum by moulding the ordinary person into a consumer. Using advertising to encourage in people the ravenous hunger for purchasing more stuff and the accompanying feeling of hollowness and a need for more and more. Original Tweet Original Tweet Original Tweet Original Tweet Original Tweet…

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10 Tactics of Sustainable Palm Oil Greenwashing Tactic 1 No Proof

Greenwashing Tactic #1: Hidden Trade Off

Claiming a brand or commodity is ‘green’ using a narrow definition or series of characteristics Examples of Hidden Trade off Nestle In 2019, a satellite monitoring system for stopping deforestation was adopted by Nestle, PZ Cussons and others. They are RSPO members with ‘No Deforestation’ policies in place. In 2021, deforestation continues. Greenwashing Reality Reality…

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10 Tactics of Sustainable Palm Oil Greenwashing Tactic 2 No Proof

Greenwashing Tactic #2: No Proof

Claiming a brand or commodity is green without any supporting evidence The RSPO promises to deliver this with their certification: 1. Improves the livelihoods of small holder farmers 2. Stops illegal indigenous land-grabbing and human rights abuses 3. Stops deforestation They sell the idea of ‘sustainable’ palm oil to consumers so that they will continue…

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10 Tactics of Sustainable Palm Oil Greenwashing - Tactic 3 Vagueness

Greenwashing Tactic #3: Vagueness

Claiming a brand or commodity is ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ based on broad generalisations, unclear language or vague statements Jump to section Greenwashing: Vagueness in Language Greenwashing: Vagueness in certification standards Reality: Auditing of RSPO a failure Quote: EIA: Who Watches the Watchmen 2 (2019) Quote: Greenpeace: Destruction Certified (2021) Quote: EIA: Burning Questions the Credibility…

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10 Tactics of Sustainable Palm Oil Greenwashing Tactic 4 Fake Labels

Greenwashing Tactic #4: Fake Labels

Claiming a brand or commodity is green based on unreliable, ineffective endorsements or eco-labels such as the RSPO, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or FairTrade coffee and cocoa. Greenwashing: Fake Labels and fake certifications Ecolabels are designed to reassure consumers that they are purchasing green or sustainable products. In reality the environmental standards are no better…

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10 Tactics of Sustainable Palm Oil Greenwashing - Tactic 5 Irrelevance deflecti on

Greenwashing Tactic #5: Irrelevance and Deflection

Claiming a brand, commodity or industry is green based on irrelevant information Jump to section Greenwashing: Irrelevant Topics Greenwashing: Colonial Racism Research: Palm oil greenwashing and its link to climate denialism Reality: RSPO Certification Doesn’t Stop Deforestation, Human Rights Abuses etc. Reality: Global Witness report links supermarket brands (RSPO members) to palm oil plantation deaths…

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10 Tactics of Sustainable Palm Oil Greenwashing - Tactic 6 Lesser of Two Evils

Greenwashing Tactic #6: The Lesser of Two Evils

Claiming that a brand, commodity or industry is greener than others in the same category, in order to excuse ecocide, deforestation, human rights and animal rights abuses. Jump to section Greenwashing: Lesser of Two Evils: Palm Oil Uses Less Land Than Other Crops Greenwashing messaging is pervasive by researchers Greenwashing messaging is pervasive on social…

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10 Tactics of Sustainable Palm Oil Greenwashing - Tactic 7 Lying

Greenwashing Tactic #7: Lying

Telling outright lies over and over again to consumers until they are believed as truth Jump to section Greenwashing: Endangered species Reality: Endangered species Greenwashing: Human rights, land-grabbing and livelihoods for workers Reality: Human rights, land-grabbing and livelihoods for workers An open letter from Friends of the Earth and 100 Human Rights NGOs Greenwashing: Deforestation…

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10 Tactics of Sustainable Palm Oil Greenwashing - Tactic 8 Design and Words

Greenwashing Tactic #8: Design & Words

Using design principles and greenwashing language in order to trigger emotional and unconscious responses in consumers Jump to section Greenwashing: Design Principles Greenwashing Design Example: Palm Done Right Greenwashing Design Example: WWF Palm Oil Scorecard 2021 Greenwashing with Words: Vegan Versus Plant-Based Greenwashing with Words: Destructive Global Brands Claiming to be Vegan What is Veganism?…

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10 Tactics of Sustainable Palm Oil Greenwashing - Tactic 9 Partnerships Sponsorships

Greenwashing Tactic #9: Partnerships, Sponsorships & Research Funding

Using corporate partnerships, sponsorships and research funding to give a commodity, an industry, certification scheme or supermarket brand a ‘greener’ reputation Jump to section Orangutan Land Trust & FairTrade meet in 2014 to discuss partnerships Orangutan Land Trust accepts a cheque from Kulim Malaysia Berhad Greenwashing Partnership: Chester Zoo, Ferrero, Wilmar Greenwashing Partnership: WWF Greenwashing…

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10 Tactics of Sustainable Palm Oil Greenwashing - Tactic 10 Gaslighting Abuse

Greenwashing Tactic #10: Gaslighting, Harassment, Stalking and Attempting to Discredit Critics

Attempting to humiliate, gaslight, discredit, harass and stalk any vocal critics of a brand, commodity or industry certification in order to scare individuals into silence and stop them from revealing corruption Greenwashing’s most insidious and darkest form is the attempt to discredit, humiliate, harass, abuse and stalk individuals in order to silence individuals and stop…

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Brands using deforestation palm oil

Research: Palm Oil Deforestation and its connection to RSPO members/supermarket brands

The RSPO is a global certification scheme for palm oil that certifies palm oil as ‘sustainable’. Yet this word means absolutely nothing, as RSPO members – the biggest supermarket brands in the world: (Unilever, Nestle, Colgate-Palmolive, L’Oreal, Avon, Mars, Mondelez, Cargill, Danone and more) continue with illegal indigenous landgrabbing, deforestation, human rights abuses, slavery and…

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Finding Hope, Resilience & Solutions

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

Opinion: Seven strategies that offer hope for rainforests

Opinion: Seven strategies that offer hope for rainforests

Company policies, new technologies, innovative financing and more are brightening prospects for the tropical rainforests — but time is short. February 18, 2020 — This piece was excerpted from Rainforest:Dispatches From Earth’s Most Vital Frontlines by Tony Juniper, Copyright © Tony Juniper. Reproduced by permission of Island Press, Washington, D.C. The continuing clearance and degradation…

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A Sumatran tiger help in a tiny cage struggles to stay alive. Craig Jones Wildlife photography

Conservation activists suing Indonesian zoo could inspire global action on endangered species trade

In a court in rural Indonesia, an environmental group recently filed a lawsuit of global importance. Their case is against a zoo in North Sumatra that it’s alleged illegally exhibited threatened species, including Komodo dragons and critically endangered Sumatran orangutans. Images by Craig Jones Wildlife Photography. Jacob Phelps, Lancaster University The illegal wildlife trade is…

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On Overcoming Activism Exhaustion and Burn-Out

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay, But Not Okay to Remain That Way We all go through stuff that makes us feel no okay, maybe a phase/season/period/stage, etc. It’s okay for this to happen, and our feelings are totally valid. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just allow yourself to outgrow the situations. Remember, you are…

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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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