We've all heard about the negative impacts of palm harvesting...
Deforestation, endangered animals brought to the brink of extinction, and air pollution due to peat fires, to name a few.
Palm Done Right seeks to bring an end to these practices with a new philosophy on growing palm trees and harvesting its oil.
What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil comes from the fruit of the African oil palm, Elaesis Guineensis, one of the two main fruit-bearing tropical palm species (the other being Cocos Nucifera, which produces coconuts). Oil palms begin producing fruit once they're 3-4 years old, yet will continue to grow and produce year-round for up to forty years. As the oil palm grows, it sends out a new set of leaves from the tip of the trunk, which then forms flowers that turn into fruit clusters (in industry terms, these are called fresh fruit bunches, or FFB).
What is Palm Oil Used For?
The main reason that lead to the negative attributes surrounding Palm Oil is from its versatility and high demand.
The oil from the kernel is pressed separately from the the pulp, and has a higher saturated fat content. That, along with its high lauric acid content, makes palm kernel oil perfect for soaps, household cleaning products, personal care products and cosmetics. When the pulp of the fruit is pressed, the result is unrefined red palm oil, which is high in antioxidants and beta-Carotenes, and has a mid-range smoke point and nutty taste that make it a terrific cooking oil for baking, sautéing and medium heat frying.
But there are good reasons palm is so popular, and good reasons for choosing palm over other oils:
What's the Solution?
Traceability and Accountability:
The first step toward a solution started with RSPO, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. The RSPO was founded in 2004 in response to the rampant destruction by palm done wrong. Stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry—from producers to consumer goods manufacturers to non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—came together to develop a set of standards that they believed would set the global supply chain of palm oil on the path to sustainability.
RSPO offers four levels of certification with varying degrees of traceability.
Of these, only the Identity Preserved level is fully traceable, which means full accountability at each step of the process. Within the past decade, though, a handful of companies have chosen to go beyond RSPO Identity Preserved to create truly sustainable, organic, fair trade palm oil traceable throughout the supply chain.
Ways You Can Help:
Visit PalmDoneRight.com for more information and sign up to take part in this earth-friendly transition.
You can also keep track of the progress through:
Twitter, Facebook, Youtube & Instagram: @PalmDoneRight