Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Palm oil & sustainability

The Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests are in serious danger. They are being cut down at an appalling rate which contributes to global warming.
Every year 1.8 billion tonnes of GHG emissions are released by the degradation and burning of Indonesia’s peatlands. (The Economist, Sept 10, 2009)
Much of the forest is being cut down for acacia and palm oil plantations. When the jungle grows in peat, and it is cut down for a tree plantation, the peat is burned. This is where much of the greenhouse gas emissions come from. Then the trees are planted, but the soil is depleted. Within a few years, the land is unable to support the tree plantation, and the farmers move on.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is working on guidelines for sustainable palm oil production.

Palm oil is in an amazing number of products, including milk, if it has Vitamin A palmitate added. You can find lists of products here and here. A discussion of palm oil in British products is here.

cross-posted at Lizbeth's Garden

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