The last thing on your mind as you’re munching away on your buttered toast is a rainforest thousands of kilometres away. And yet, it’s quite likely that parts of your breakfast may have imperiled that fragile ecosystem. How exactly? Here’s the story.
If you’ve heard about palm oil (found in thousands of processed food, household and personal care products, from toast to lipstick), you probably think it’s bad news. Indeed when produced irresponsibly, it harms tropical forests and threatens wildlife such as orangutans, elephants and tigers.
That’s because valuable forests are often destroyed to plant palm oil plantations, destroying the habitats of countless species while also threatening the well being and livelihoods of communities that depend on the forest and contributing to climate change. Sometimes the easiest way for companies or smallholders to clear forests in order to grow palm oil is to burn them, creating smoke and haze that also threatens the health of animals and people across the region. But did you know that there is another way? In fact, not all palm oil is bad.
More and more companies that produce, trade or buy palm oil are trying hard to make sure they don’t harm tropical rainforests, wildlife and the communities that depend on them.
They’re doing this by getting their business to be independently certified through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a non-profit association that aims to make all palm oil sustainable. When companies join the RSPO, they commit to grow and use palm oil produced in a way that is fair to people, ecosystems and to wildlife.
But there’s a problem. Not enough businesses in the palm oil industry are joining the RSPO, and of those that join, many are not using enough certified sustainable palm oil. Other companies have made commitments to use only 100% certified palm oil but are not moving fast enough to honour the promises they have made to their consumers.
WWF asks companies that use palm oil to start buying and/or using significant amounts of certified sustainable palm oil right away. The more companies that drag their feet, the more forests and endangered species are lost.
We need your help – to show businesses that you expect them to use certified sustainable palm oil in their products and to do their part to reduce deforestation, wildlife loss and conflicts with communities.