Palm Oil: Hard To Stomach | Critical Consumer Quest #6

Sometimes I get so furious, so deeply saddened about this issue… clean words fail me. It’s not hard to boycott unsustainable palm oil. It really isn’t.

If the palm oil industry waited for consumers to care, sustainability would get nowhere”,

– headlined The Guardian – which surely made any ethical consumer’s blood boil.

But you know what?
Let me just share with you today, with no comments from me, some links that are either recent or still relevant, stuff that I read to stay on track, to say no everyday to palm oil in cosmetics and in food, in all those easy-to-consume, too-easy-to-grab everyday products that surround us all:

Recent Or Still Relevant –
Palm Oil Articles In The Media

“[I]t’s not too late to save the orangutans as long as consumers insist on sustainably produced palm oil.”
BBC News, August 2015

Experts say companies and consumers must also play a part by pushing for palm oil to be produced more sustainably.”
– Reuters UK, September 2015

“Perhaps the most important task, for both campaigners and palm growers, is to wring more assistance from governments in commodity-producing countries, which up to now have played only a modest role in their greening.”
The Economist, August 2015

The fires have been raging since July, with efforts to extinguish them hampered by seasonal dry conditions exacerbated by the El Nino effect. As well as Indonesia, the acrid haze from the fires is engulfing neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore and has reached as far as southern Thailand.”
The Guardian, November 2015

“At stake are Asian rainforests, landscapes dotted with meadows and heathlands, freshwater lakes and rivers, as well as rhinos, elephants, orangutans and tigers — species threatened with extinction.”
The Star, August 2015

Every year, thousands of hectares of Indonesian rainforest and peatlands – some of the most biodiverse regions on the planet – are being destroyed to make way for new palm oil plantations.”
Greenpeace YouTube documentary, February 2014

“[P]art of the problem is that even companies that do sign up to ethical schemes, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, cannot be certain that all the oil they receive is ethically produced because of the way oil from different plantations is mixed at processing plants.”

The Guardian, December 2013

At the heart of the problem are palm oil plantation owners, who use cheap and easy slash-and-burn techniques to clear forests and meet rising global demand for the oil used for cooking and in household products from shampoo to ice cream.”
Reuters UK, 2015

[S]trategic thinking must underpin enlightened policymaking to diversify away from palm oil in the food system. Such thinking must consider the environmental, health, economic, political as well as operational aspects of this complex issue.”
B. Shankar for SciDev.Net, July 2015

The Wall Street Journal published this comprehensive article on human trafficking in relations with the palm oil production in July 2015.

“[T]he ongoing issue of tough working conditions for plantation workers remains shrouded behind a veil of silence.”
The Guardian, November 2015

How To Boycott
Conflict Palm Oil?

No rocket science. Promised.

1. Avoid packaged foods.
2. Ask in the shops if you spot it in the ingredients.
3. Check your cosmetics and foods with apps like Codecheck.
4. For PO-free products reviewed here on BEAUTYCALYPSE, use the tag palm-oil free.
5. And don’t be afraid that you might bug people with your questioning – be resolute but always stay friendly and nice (chances are, the salesperson has no idea, and you want them on your side). Say NO politely and explain why.



Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

6 Responses

      1. I really don’t see why we need to feed the cows on this stuff. Lately I have noticed one milk company putting no palm kernel on their milk bottles. That milk is actually delicious and organic.

  1. Anonymous

    This is painful to know but I find it’s rather hard to boycott. Maybe I’m wrong. I’d like to but I can’t check every item I buy.

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