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Title: Palm Oil
Description: Boycott!

t&tt - December 11, 2011 04:38 AM (GMT)
Palm oil…is found in everything from biscuits to biodiesel, detergents to potato chips, cookies to shampoo, and candy and cosmetics. In fact, palm oil is now found in about half of all packaged goods on the shelves…. The RSPO [Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil] was formed in 2003 by the environmental group WWF, the Anglo-Dutch foods and toiletries company Unilever, which is the world’s biggest buyer of palm oil, and other companies and industry organizations. Members today include growers, food manufacturers, commodity traders, retailers, and environmental groups…. [The RSPO] has few funds, and no powers to investigate the activities of its members….“I’ve now got serious doubts about the sincerity of some of the RSPO members,”….
<Sustainable Palm Oil: Rainforest Savior or Fig Leaf? Yale. Nov 29, 2010>

…[T]he government routinely sells indigenous peoples' ancestral land to corporations. Often the land sold is Indonesia's lowland rainforest, a biologically rich area home to endangered species like the …Asian elephant…. You can find it on ingredient lists under a number of names, including palmitate, palmate, sodium laureth sulphate, sodium lauryl sulphate, glyceryl stearate, or stearic acid. Palm oil even turns up in so-called "natural," "healthy," or even "cruelty-free" products….[M]embership in RSPO means nothing -- other than that an organization paid its dues. "That's the first level of greenwash…. Journalists have also criticized environmental groups for "cozy relationships with corporate eco-nasties." The World Wildlife Fund has come under attack for its partnership with Wilmar, the corporation that attacked a Sumatran village.... So what should consumers do? For the time being, avoiding products containing palm oil is probably your best bet.
<Worst Food Additives Ever? It's in Half of All Foods We Eat and Its Production Destroys Rainforests and Enslaves Children, Oct 24, 2011>

Yet as we confront the biggest ecological crisis in human history, many of the green organizations meant to be leading the fight are busy shoveling up hard cash from the world's worst polluters--and burying science-based environmentalism in return. Sometimes the corruption is subtle; sometimes it is blatant….. [M]ainstream green organizations…take money, and in turn they offer praise, even when the money comes from the companies causing environmental devastation….
<The Wrong Kind of Green. The Nation, Mar 24, 2010>

" far as brands using sustainable palm oil, we don’t advocate for any of them... The majority of palm oil comes from unsustainable industrial scale palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia. Until there is truly 100% “certified sustainable” palm oil that we can trace back to the plantation of origin available on the market, I generally try to avoid it." - Comment from article's author. <The Great RSPO Membership Myth: Why Buying from RSPO Members Is Meaningless, Mar 24, 2011>

Videos that sum it up:

t&tt - December 11, 2011 04:44 AM (GMT)
Snares set by palm oil workers taking a toll on pygmy elephants of Borneo, (Sabah) Borneo, Malaysia, Oct 12, 2008

Palm Oil Converted 16,000 hectares of Elephants Conservations Leaving Only 50 Hectares of Swamp, Sumatra, Indonesia, Apr 5, 2010

Bornean elephants...., (Sabah) Borneo, Malaysia, Oct 31, 2011
Extensive agriculture through palm oil plantations has considerably reduced the habitat of the elephant....

Aceh’s Elephants In Peril, Sumatra, Indonesia, Nov 22, 2011
...[T]he Natural Resources Conservation Center (BSKDA) of Aceh...has noted that the main threats to these elephants are from hunting for their tusks, conflicts with locals, road and settlement construction and land reclamation for oil palm estates, which has forced elephants to feed closer to residential areas, sometimes leading to their death by poisoning.

t&tt - December 11, 2011 05:40 AM (GMT)
Cruel Oil, Dec 2011

Approximately 85 percent of palm oil is grown in the tropical countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) on industrial plantations that have severe impacts on the environment, forest peoples and the climate....

"Consumers should understand that a seemingly small decision in this country—what kind of cookie, cracker, or hand lotion to buy—can have major consequences on the other side of the world," said Brown....

Asian elephant: Only about 2,900 elephants are estimated to remain in all of Sumatra, 800 in peninsular Malaysia, and 1,000 in Borneo. The home range of one family of elephants is about 25 to 65 square miles, so a breeding subpopulation of 20 elephant families would need to roam over about 500 to 1,300 square miles. Other Asian elephants survive in other countries....

Cruel Oil: How Palm Oil Harms Health, Rainforest, and Wildlife, Center for Science in the Public Interest

Brings new meaning to "Dying for a Cookie"

For the latest rumblings on Palm Oil

Space4Eles - December 13, 2011 11:24 AM (GMT)
Thank you for drawing all these important threads together, t&tt.

People don't seem to have time to read the labels - more and more products contain palm oil (either up-front listed as "palm oil", or in the guise of "vegetable oil") - and, if they do have time, I really believe that they don't see the connection between the product and the scale of the destruction. Or they simply don't care.

There is no such thing as "sustainable palm oil".

t&tt - December 13, 2011 08:38 PM (GMT)
Yes, s4e, you are absolutely right, "There is no such thing as "sustainable palm oil."

How we use our buying power directly effects the elephants. We need to stop their habitat destruction. (I originally got this "boycott" message from a conservationist. Later did the research that is posted here).

Please boycott palm oil for the elephants!

Palm oil, AKA:
sodium laureth sulphate,
sodium lauryl sulphate,
glyceryl stearate,
stearic acid

t&tt - December 21, 2011 04:40 AM (GMT)
GREASY PALMS - video, 18 mins

"An area the size of 6 football fields is cleared every minute in Indonesia alone." <11 mins in>

Borneo -- "Followed by an afternoon watching an excavator tearing down towering trees and digging a drainage canal into one of the last areas of natural forest remaining.... We watched, horrified, as an irreplaceable hotspot of biodiversity fell before our eyes.... At what price are we going to continue expanding this commodity? ... The time is ticking for the...species depending on the forests...." Dec 13, 2011

Deforestation map-SE Asia

It's so much worse now as the video showed. This is a HORRIFYING crisis.

Space4Eles - December 25, 2011 12:41 PM (GMT)
Interesting ... extract from Denver Zoo visitor information page, under Holiday Parties:

You can make a difference just by being aware of the ingredients you are using in preparing holiday foods. For instance, palm oil or palmitate is included in many of the foods that we eat and the harvesting of palm oil in Indonesia contributes to the destruction of critical habitat for endangered orangutans and Asian elephants.

Space4Eles - January 28, 2012 11:22 AM (GMT)
Don't hurt my baby! Pregnant orang-utan protectively hugs her daughter as ruthless Borneo bounty hunters move in for the kill

Pair saved at last minute by Brit-based animal rescue group

Palm oil firms trying to clear plantations said to be offering £70 for each orang-utan killed on the Borneo palm oil plantations

In an equally tragic scenario, babies left alive after adult orang-utans have been slaughtered have been put up for sale in the pet trade by hunters.

Read more:

[I think this is an important article, so I have also posted it on the Other Animals forum.]

t&tt - January 28, 2012 09:27 PM (GMT)
Amazing post, s4e! Thank you! Article is getting lots of pro-active comments. Share widely.

t&tt - January 29, 2012 07:02 AM (GMT)
Another list for other names for Palm Oil:

Her last post has good points.

t&tt - February 6, 2012 06:53 PM (GMT)
The endangered pygmy elephant lives in Bornean rainforests.

Group releases photos of Borneo rainforest to be converted for palm plantations - PICS

Petitions to Malaysian Government Officials - Please sign

"PT Munte Waniq Jaya Perkasa is currently bulldozing forests around Muara Tae to establish an oil palm plantation. The company, which is owned by Malaysia-based TSH Resources, is backed by police and other security personnel." This is why this petition is important.

t&tt - February 8, 2012 07:30 AM (GMT)
Posted on Elephant Family FB:

"Our friends at SOS (they’re to orangutans what we are to elephants) are running a campaign to ask for your voice to tell the UK government that you don’t want this. Let them know today!"

From SOS:
...Shockingly, the UK government is considering offering subsidies to power stations to burn biofuels - including palm oil - for heat and power. And what's more, this is being funded through our fuel bills!

...Please email Edward Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and let him know that you don't want your fuel bills subsidising forest destruction and biodiversity loss. Please ask him not to subsidise bioliquids.

Contact info provided:

t&tt - February 10, 2012 07:32 AM (GMT)
Indonesia to create the world's largest palm oil and rubber company

It will own about million hectares of oil palm and rubber plantations, rivaling Malaysia’s Sime Darby and Singapore’s Wilmar among the world's largest planters. ...The plantation giant may eventually be listed and spun off from the government.

t&tt - February 10, 2012 08:11 AM (GMT)
Girl Scout cookie battle: UN honors girls for effort to save orangutan habitat

The United Nations has recognized the efforts of two Ann Arbor-area Girl Scouts campaigning to get rain forest-destroying palm oil out of Girl Scout cookies....Last year, Girl Scouts of the USA and Kellogg’s, which produces Girl Scout cookies, developed a plan to transition to “sustainable” palm oil by 2015.

Kellogg’s also pledged to reduce palm oil use across its entire product line. The girls and UCS see this as a good first step, but they say the organization that certifies sustainable palm oil does not have adequate safeguards in place to ensure that the palm oil is not contributing to tropical deforestation.

Please sign the petition:

t&tt - February 17, 2012 10:47 PM (GMT)
High Foreign Demand Sustains Malaysia’s Palm Oil Sector

The second largest crude palm oil producer after Indonesia, Malaysia has seen strong growth in crude palm oil production.... High palm oil production was sustained by continued demand from India and China, along with biofuel initiatives in the European Union. Growth in exports to these countries and regions was in the double digits during the second half of 2011.

United States Rejects Palm Oil Fuel, But Indonesian Producers Are Unfazed

American companies use CPO [crude palm oil] from Indonesia not only for biofuel but also for cosmetics and food-related products. According to Gapki data, Indonesia shipped 62,000 tons of CPO to the United States in 2011, at a total value of $68.2 million.

Read labels. Look to see what country products are made in. Boycott ALL palm oil! Your money talks!

If you're in Europe, pls take action here:

Space4Eles - February 18, 2012 10:13 AM (GMT)
Tried to enlighten a lady in my local market about palm oil - she had queried why I was checking labels. (I have now found a brand of sultanas with cottonseed oil, as distinct from my usual purchase which now uses palm oil.)

If people don't "get it" about the environmental damage, maybe we could approach the issue from the saturated fat standpoint. Here's a useful chart:

Saturated fatty acids:
Cottonseed oil - 26%
Olive oil - 13%
Palm oil - 49%
Palm kernel oil - 81%

Fats that are high in saturated fatty acids (including meat fats, milk fat, butter, lard, coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil) are commonly considered to be potentially less healthy than fats with a lower proportion of saturated fatty acids and higher proportions of unsaturated fatty acids like olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, safflower, corn, sunflower, soy, and cottonseed oils.

Space4Eles - February 18, 2012 05:52 PM (GMT)
Interesting venture?

Twycross Zoo Opens New Oil Palm Plantation

Tom Proctor, Horticultural Supervisor, said: "Our vision was to create an interpretation of the devastation caused by oil palm plantations. On average, an area of forest the size of a football field is being destroyed every hour to make way for oil palm plantations. A shocking 80 per cent of Borneo has now been destroyed. We aim to educate visitors by raising awareness, so the placement of the plantation was imperative - orang utan numbers are in rapid decline due to habitat loss and Twycross Zoo has supported orang utan conservation for a number of years.

t&tt - March 10, 2012 06:10 AM (GMT)
Production of "certified sustainable palm oil" (CSPO) rose from 1.4 million metric tons in 2009 to 4.8 million tons in 2011, while sales climbed from 343,857 tons to 2.5 million tons. RSPO also reported an increase in membership.

Boycott palm oil!

t&tt - March 16, 2012 05:15 AM (GMT)
How the insanity works.

Scientists say massive palm oil plantation will "cut the heart out" of Cameroon's rainforest

...[Palm oil plantation] has come with a considerable ecological cost in Southeast Asia due to its link to deforestation in the region. Recently, the expansion has spread to Latin America and West Africa....

Forest elephants, leopards, and forest buffalo also roam the park.

Complicating Herakles' proposed plantation is the fact that around 10 percent of the plantation will be owned by a charity, All for Africa...proposes to take its proceeds from the plantation....[T]he charity's CEO, Bruce Wrobel, is also the CEO of Herakles' Farms....

...[T]he RSPO should drop Herakles Farm's certification. "In our view as leading environmental and social scientists and development experts, the RSPO should use the proponents’ case to send a clear message to agribusiness companies...that gross violations of RSPO guidelines and national and international laws will not be tolerated"....

t&tt - March 30, 2012 05:22 AM (GMT)
Orangutans in Indonesia's Aceh forest may die out in weeks

The palm oil industry has expanded to make Indonesia the world's top producer and exporter of the edible oil, used to make good ranging from cooking oil and biodiesel to biscuits and soap to feed growing Asian consumer demand.

...So that's orangutans, sun bears, tigers, and all the other protected species in it, will disappear in a few weeks and will be gone permanently"....

Petition: Indonesia - Don't Let Palm Oil Company Destroy Orangutan Habitat

Space4Eles - March 30, 2012 04:03 PM (GMT)
Hundreds of orangutans killed in north Indonesian forest fires deliberately started by palm oil firms

Now the new threat to the Sumatran orangutan has erupted in the officially protected Tripa forest, which is hemmed in by palm oil plantations.

Land clearing fires have been started inside the forest, resulting in the animals fleeing - but hundreds are feared to have died in the flames because Indonesians in the employ of the palm oil companies have been accused of driving them back into the flames.

Beyond sad ... man's never-ending greed.

t&tt - March 31, 2012 02:14 AM (GMT)
Yes, s4e. Corporations killing the planet for their own self-interests. No interest in the common good.

Featured video: indigenous community witnesses end of forest for palm oil (9 mins).

Hot petition. Please sign.
Enforce the law protecting Tripa Peat Swamp and its Orangutan populations

t&tt - April 2, 2012 05:27 AM (GMT)

The Chairman of the REDD+ Taskforce (Kuntoro Mangkusubroto) sent a team of lawyers who have been on the ground in Tripa collecting evidence right now! Your voice is effective....

“This is really a test case,” said Chik Rini, a World Wildlife Fund campaigner, noting that while it’s not uncommon for timber, pulp, paper and palm oil companies to raze trees in protected areas, few developments occur in areas that seem so obviously off limits. If they get away with it here, well, then no forests are safe.”


t&tt - April 6, 2012 02:00 AM (GMT)
Aceh Judge slammed over Indonesian court’s inability to make a just ruling over simple legal case.

...The Council of Judges of the Banda Aceh National Administrative Court announced it was the inappropriate body to make a ruling on the challenge mounted by the Aceh branch of WALHI / Friends of the Earth Indonesia against legality of an oil palm concession permit granted by the former Governor of Aceh to PT Kallista Alam in the protected Tripa peat swamps.

The Judges’ ruling took over an hour to read....

“If this legal challenge had no legal basis, then why wasn’t it rejected at the beginning?”

SOCP: Orangutans gone by end of 2012 unless deforestation halted
The many supporters overseas can help with all these efforts, both by expressing their support through petitions etc., but also with funding for the campaign and lobby work itself as these are often difficult to raise money for.


Ellie - April 6, 2012 10:30 AM (GMT)
Thanks for posting these petitions. All signed and sent.

t&tt - April 12, 2012 06:58 AM (GMT)
Green groups may call for boycott of Indonesian palm oil over forest destruction in Sumatra

"RSPO membership does not ensure that any RSPO criteria are being met at the plantation level since the only major criteria to meet in the first 5 years is consistent dues payment,"....

The group is asking Cargill to adopt "a comprehensive set of safeguards on the palm oil they trade" and be "open and transparent" about the companies that supply it with palm oil....

Cargill: Don’t Push Orangutans to Extinction

t&tt - April 15, 2012 07:06 AM (GMT)
Iconic Conservationists Appeal to Indonesia to Save Orangutans from ‘Extreme Threat’

...Jane Goodall, Richard Leakey, Richard Wrangham and Russell Mittermeier – have sent a letter to the president of Indonesia asking him to halt the destruction currently underway in Sumatra and enforce laws that protect orangutans and their habitat. ...[W]as response to man-made fires in the Leuser Ecosystem that were set to clear rainforest for oil palm plantations through allegedly illegal permits.

Space4Eles - April 18, 2012 08:56 AM (GMT)
Video uploaded 10 April 2012:

Sustainable Palm Oil - Cincinnati Zoo

t&tt - April 18, 2012 09:10 AM (GMT)
The Cinncinnati Zoo does push RSPO palm oil. Just remember:

[The RSPO] "has few funds, and no powers to investigate the activities of its members….“I’ve now got serious doubts about the sincerity of some of the RSPO members,”…. -- Sustainable Palm Oil: Rainforest Savior or Fig Leaf? Yale. Nov 29, 2010

"The World Wildlife Fund has come under attack for its partnership with Wilmar, the corporation that attacked a Sumatran village.... So what should consumers do? For the time being, avoiding products containing palm oil is probably your best bet." -- Worst Food Additives Ever? It's in Half of All Foods We Eat and Its Production Destroys Rainforests and Enslaves Children, Oct 24, 2011

t&tt - April 19, 2012 12:43 AM (GMT)
Picture: Orangutan rescued from peat forest endangered by palm oil, fires

The rescued orangutan was underweight, showing signs of malnutrition, according to Yenny Saraswati, a veterinarian with SOCP....“If we hadn’t rescued him now he would eventually have starved to death”..."Many orangutans get killed or captured by plantation workers, some ending up as illegal pets," said Indrianto. "The orangutan we rescued today had already begun eating the shoots of oil palm seedlings nearby, as he had nothing else to eat, and would almost certainly have been killed for this if we hadn’t intervened.”

t&tt - April 19, 2012 01:33 AM (GMT)
Kalimantan Palm Plantations Threaten Last Pygmy Elephants

With no more than 80 Borneo pygmy elephants left in Indonesia, the massive clearing of forests to make way for palm oil plantations poses a major threat to the survival of the species, environmentalists warn.

t&tt - April 21, 2012 05:36 AM (GMT)
The Price of Palm Oil, 23 min video (2010)

Bustar Maitar/Greenpeace (20:20): "Like I mentioned we doing the forest campaign for many years. And we hear a lot of promise already mentioned from the companies and also from the government. But very little happen.... One of the problems with RSPO is RSPO is not monitoring what their members is doing. We asking RSPO to deleting the all members who still doing the deforestation because that member is breaking the RSPO rules.... If the RSPO is credible enough let's announce who is the company members by RSPO doing deforestation in the next general assembly in Jakarta.

Host: "Can we get that from the RSPO?"

Rikke Netterstrom/RSPO: "I think we would have to talk to WWF and OxFam and the other organizations that are part of this."

Short on time? Watch 16:55 - 22:50.

t&tt - April 21, 2012 06:07 AM (GMT)
Administrative court handed down a “no-­decision,” refusing to rule on the cases until the defenders of the Tripa forest made a goodwill effort to negotiate a solution with Tripa’s developers and destroyers. The decision was not surprising: Indonesia’s courts are notorious for their corruption and regular refusal to rule on important cases. The plaintiffs have vowed to appeal and consider the ruling absurd. Tripa’s forest communities and their environmental advocate allies have in fact spent years attempting to negotiate with the four agribusiness companies that wield control of Tripa. After hundreds of meetings, letters and protests in surrounding cities, Tripa’s forests continue to be destroyed at an increasing rate, leaving critically endangered communities with no land…. The dire situation in Tripa contradicts commitments made by the Indonesian government and the agribusiness industry to break the link between deforestation and palm oil production. -- David Gilbert, Political Ecologist. (Apr. 16, 2012). Truth and Consequences: Palm Oil Plantations Push Unique Orangutan Population to Brink of Extinction, Rainforest Action Network.

t&tt - April 21, 2012 06:18 AM (GMT)
6 Million Metric Tonnes World Record For RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm Oil

"The growth in the number of certified growers reflects the findings of the recent report produced by WWF entitled ‘Profitability and Sustainability in Palm Oil Production’..."

"One of the problems with RSPO is RSPO is not monitoring what their members is doing. We asking RSPO to deleting the all members who still doing the deforestation because that member is breaking the RSPO rules.... If the RSPO is credible enough let's announce who is the company members by RSPO doing deforestation in the next general assembly in Jakarta." -- Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace

Why am I reminded of the AZA?

t&tt - April 25, 2012 03:11 AM (GMT)
$90 million in corrupt logging money linked to Malaysian Chief Minister, UBS bank

The funds to start a palm oil plantation are often garnered by selling timber from the logged-over forest.

Documents under investigation show that around $90 million may have been laundered from logging companies in Sabah to UBS bank accounts linked to high-ranking Malaysian officials, according to the Sarawak Report. Critics of the government say the money is likely kickbacks from logging companies to government officials for the right to log in the state's declining rainforests. Such transactions are alleged to occur typically in the run up to elections.

t&tt - April 28, 2012 07:09 AM (GMT)
Palm oil is a major driver of peatlands destruction in Indonesian Borneo, finds new study

To curb emissions from projected oil palm expansion, the authors argue that Ketapang would need to protect both logged and intact forests as well as prevent agricultural fires. Even so, conversion of 280,000 acres of a million acres of community land by 2020 is virtually inevitable, according to the research. The most likely case is that 35 percent of all community lands will be cleared for oil palm by 2020.

t&tt - April 28, 2012 08:00 AM (GMT)
Palm oil industry lobbies EPA to reverse palm oil biofuel findings

Wilmar International, the world's largest palm oil processor and trader, has hired a major lobbying firm to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency's ruling that palm oil-based biodiesel will not meet greenhouse gas emissions standards under America's Renewable Fuels Standard, reports The Hill.

Space4Eles - May 1, 2012 06:08 PM (GMT)
Focus on Sumatra

Poisoned Sumatran elephant dies in Indonesian palm oil plantation

[Article covered by AP copyright, therefore I am unable to give a quote.]

Space4Eles - May 16, 2012 09:23 PM (GMT)
Focus on Sumatra:

I have posted this article on the topic for "Bona" on the Rescue, Retirement, Relocation forum.
I'm also posting the link here because the article makes some thought-provoking statements about palm oil by Team Bona, who are now working to save the life of orphan elephant calf Bona at Seblat ECC, which is in the heart of a palm oil producing area of Sumatra.

The not so Amazing Race

Bona is just one tragic story in a very big picture, she lost her mother due to habitat destruction, destroyed specifically for the development of palm oil plantations, her mum was poisoned by pesticides used in the development of these palm oil plantations in the Seblat area of Sumatra. Bona now struggles on a daily basis to get the supplements she needs to grow to a mature elephant. It might be one story of many but it baffles my mind and I simply cannot fathom how we allow ourselves to get to these points.

t&tt - May 19, 2012 05:31 AM (GMT)
Pictures: mama and baby orangutan saved from palm oil developers

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