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Palm Oil: How it affects you and the world

Palm Oil is not a well-known ingredient for most people. However, it is an increasingly consumed ingredient in most food and even used in some cosmetic products. Palm Oil is becoming such a daily part of people’s diets that it has surpassed soy bean oil and is now the world’s most widely produced edible oil.

What is Palm Oil?

Palm Oil is cooking oil made from the fruit of the African oil palm. This palm tree is only found and grown in tropical environments; mainly consisting of areas with rainforests. “Approximately 85 percent of palm oil is grown in the tropical countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.”

Palm Oil a threat?

Palm Oil is a gigantic threat to the environment and you! Here’s how:

  • Palm Oil as an increasing threat to our rainforests because of illegal logging. Because this plant can only be grown in tropical environments, rainforests are cut down to make room for plantations. Once a plantation needs more room or has lost the nutrition in the soil, more forest is destroyed to make more plantations.
  • Illegal logging methods include the slash and burn method of clearing rainforest. This is the act of purposefully setting an uncontrolled fire to part of the forest. They do not take account the animals in that area of forest. The orangutan is one of the severely affected species by this. There are only predicted to be about 30,000 left in the wild and they are also only found in rainforest habitats. Orangutans are already on the endangered list like many other rainforest species. There are also many other undiscovered species we are losing due to this logging.

What can YOU do?

1)      READ THE LABEL! Reading the ingredients on a label is crucial to avoiding Palm Oil. If it says “Palm Oil” or “Partially Hydrogenated Palm Oil” on the ingredients list chances are it is NOT from a sustainable or legal source.

2)      CHECK THE COMPANY! There is slowly but surely increasing number of companies joining the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil or the RSPO. These companies DO NOT get  their Palm Oil from  an illegal or environment-damaging source like most do!

3)      WRITE TO THE COMPANY! Is your favorite company not in the RSPO yet? Write to them! If a company knows they are losing money over Palm Oil they are more likely to change their sources!

4)      SPREAD THE WORD!

TO HELP YOU BEGIN!!

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, HERE’S A LIST!

 Make a Difference for Wild Orangutans

Orangutan Friendly Sustainable Palm Oil Valentine Candy List

This information is meant to be a helpful guide for consumers that are concerned about orangutan conservation and deforestation due to non-sustainable palm oil production in Indonesia and Malaysia. The companies listed below are members of the RSPO (Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil) and are committed to using certified sustainable palm oil. Please support companies that are doing their best to make a difference for orangutans.

Company Name                           Snack Name
Nestle                                               Baby Ruth
Nestle                                               Butterfinger
Nestle                                               Crunch Bar
Nestle                                               100 Grand
Wonka (Nestle)                            Valentine Heart Sweetarts
Wonka (Nestle)                            Lik-M-Aid (Fun Dip)
Wonka (Nestle)                            Laffy Taffy Candy and Card Kit
Wonka (Nestle)                            Nerds Candy and Card Kit
Wonka (Nestle)                            Valentine Mix Ups (Bottlecaps, Nerds, Laffy Taffy)
Wonka (Nestle)                            Heart Gummies
Wonka (Nestle)                            Gobstoppers
Wonka (Nestle)                            Chocolate Hearts (Crunch & Butter Fingers)
Wonka (Nestle)                            Valentine Exchange (Butterfinger, Baby Ruth,Crunch)
Lindt and Spungli                       Lindor Truffles (Many Flavors)
Lindt and Spungli                       Chocolate Heart Boxes
ConAgra                                           Fiddle Faddle
ConAgra                                           Crunch & Munch
ConAgra                                           Poppy Cock
Kellogg’s                                           Heart Shaped Marshmallow Treats
Kellogg’s                                           Fruity Snacks
Kellogg’s                                           Pop Tarts
Kellogg’s                                           Famous Amos Cookies
Kellogg’s                                           Austin Peanut Butter Crackers
Kellogg’s                                           Austin Cheese Crackers
Kellogg’s                                           Keebler Brand Cookies
PepsiCo (Frito Lay)                      Cheetos
PepsiCo (Frito Lay)                      Dorritos
PepsiCo                                             Grandma’s Cookies

Note: Any products made by Nestle, Lindt and Spungli, Kellogg’s, PepsiCo (Frito Lay), and ConAgra (even if not listed above) are good choices as they are all members of the RSPO.

Products made by companies such as Hershey’s, Brach’s, Russell Stover and Ghirardelli are not orangutan friendly choices as they are not members of the RSPO. If one of your favorite candy bars or sweets is produced by one of these companies, take action by writing a letter and asking them to join the RSPO and be committed to using certified sustainable palm oil. For a sample letter and more information on how you can Make a Difference for Wild Orangutans visit cmzoo.org/conservation/PalmOilCrisis.

Note: Mars has applied to be a member of the RSPO; they are currently waiting for approval. We applaud them for taking this step and look forward to adding them to this shopping guide as soon as they are approved.

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About Akron Planeteers

"Planeteers are people who care - and Planeteer Networks all over the world and self-organizing with the mission of creating a sustainable planet." ~http://captainplanet.me/

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