Palm oil is found in one
in ten products including chocolate, margarine, biscuits shampoo and detergents.
Demand for palm oil, a vegetable oil present in many of the products
we buy, is contributing to the destruction of the world's most precious rainforest
One in ten food products on our supermarket shelves are directly contributing to the destruction of the world's rainforests. It is used in everyday products and a number of top brand foods, including Walkers’ crisps, Kellogg’s cereals, Heinz soups and some Cadbury Schweppes chocolate.
The booming trade in palm oil is fuelling the destruction of rainforests in South East Asia, and leading to human rights abuses and devastating pollution.
Large scale palm oil plantations are replacing the forests in Indonesia and Malaysia at an alarming rate, wiping out 80-100% of wildlife in the area, forcing local communities from their land and destroying their livelihoods. In Indonesia, the forests are disappearing at a rate of more than 2 million hectares a year - an area greater than the size of Wales.
The demand for profit from this rapidly expanding trade is leading to human rights violations against indigenous communities, who are losing their land and being forced to work on the plantations, often for less than the minimum wage.
Indonesia and Malaysia have some of the world's longest lists of threatened wildlife. Of the more than 400 land mammal species of Indonesia, 15 are critically endangered and another 125 threatened. In Malaysia with nearly 300 land mammal species, 6 are critically endangered and 41 threatened. The numbers of threatened species climb higher when terrestrial reptiles, amphibians, and birds are included. Moreover, certain animals, such as the orang-utan, are only found in these countries. When their rainforest habitat vanishes, so will they.
Tigers, orang-utans and countless other species are being driven to extinction while governments stand idly by and allow companies to get away with it. This problem will not be solved until there are clear rules to ensure the products found in our shops are produced in a way that does not harm communities and the environment.
Ethical shopping alone won't change the behaviour of the palm oil
industries. New rules are needed to hold companies accountable for
the damage they do.
Friends of the Earth believes that changes must be made to UK company law to prevent
British companies operating in ways that damage the environment overseas through the
market for palm oil.
It is calling on the UK Government to: