"PALM OIL is one of the largest causes of rainforest destruction," says Laurel Sutherlin, a Rainforest Action Network spokesperson. According to RAN, U.S. palm oil use has ballooned by 500 percent over the past 10 years—it's now in about half of all packaged foods.
Bill Barclay, Research and Policy Director with the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), agreed that Wilmar's policy is only the beginning of the transformation of the palm oil sector from a major driver of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and social conflict toward something greener.
Palm oil. It’s the ubiquitous additive in everything from soaps and lotions to cookies and diet foods. It’s found in junk food like Cheez-Its, Tootsie Rolls, and M&Ms, but it’s also found in the products of more ecologically conscious companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Nature’s Way, and Toms of Maine. According to Rainforest Action Network (RAN), palm oil can be found in almost half of the products found in grocery stores.
Expansion of palm oil onto peatlands was relatively smaller, the papers showed, but as peatlands store large amounts of carbon this was still a big part of palm oil’s carbon footprint. Between 2006 and 2010, an average of 88 million tons of carbon dioxide per year was released due to conversion of peatlands for plantations.
A new campaign by the Rainforest Action Network reveals that the production of an ingredient in Halloween candy, palm oil, destroys rainforests, endangers threatened species, contributes to climate change, and hides a host of human rights violations.
The use of palm oil in processed foods is way, way up in part because it doesn't contain trans fat, which the United States says must be labeled on food packaging because of its unhealthiness. The U.S. imports about 10 times as much palm oil now as it did in the mid-1990s. It's not that the oil is evil. It's that production methods need to change.