Palm Oil. This is an ingredient that we use more often than we’d think. Thanks to how versatile it is, it is now found in over half of all the products on supermarket shelves – from lipstick and toothpaste to biscuits and bread. Many people do not know that they are eating it or using it in other ways.
The frequent haze situation we get in Singapore is actually related to unsustainable practices of producing palm oil. To keep up with global demand, the acceleration of palm oil production across Southeast Asia – frequently unsustainable – has given rise to undesirable environmental impacts such as the widespread clearing of land, displacement of local communities and loss of wildlife habitats.
Fact: Between 2000 and 2015, nearly 1.6 million hectares of primary forest in Indonesia was converted to oil palm plantations – an area 24 times the size of Singapore.
The impact it has on the environment is devastating.
If companies use unsustainable palm in their products – be it food or cosmetics – it could be threatening forests (forest fires!), wildlife (deforestation!), and clean air (haze!).
That is why I decided to use my influence to give a shout out to the #EveryPalmMatters campaign. It is an initiative by Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and they want to raise awareness of sustainable palm oil and empower people to make better choices for the future.
Together with them, I wish to protect our rain forests of the world by raising awareness of the issue and helping to spread the word and inspire others to take action.
Read also: “Paper products may just be the tip of the iceberg: Many grocery items here could come from plantations that contribute to the haze.” – The Straits Times.
Facts of Palm Oil In Singapore
Google and you’ll find a lot of news about this in Singapore. Did you know that:
- 70% of brands in Malaysia and Singapore don’t disclose palm oil use.
- Two out of three brands in Singapore have made no plan to source sustainably sourced palm oil – choosing to use un-sustainably sourced palm oil in their products – which threaten forests, wildlife, and clean air. (Read)
- In Singapore, the effects of haze pollution have been associated with up to 3% increase in hospital admissions for respiratory diseases.
And this is because brands say that consumers like you and me are not demanding usage of sustainable palm oil.
Make a conscious choice to buy products made with sustainable palm oil. It is a small but important change that we can all make to protect our rainforests and the creatures that depend on them. Sustainable palm oil is produced according to the strictest environmental standards and is an important source of income for 6 million people around the world.
However, only 20% of palm oil is currently produced in this way so we need to raise awareness of the products and companies who are doing the right thing and sourcing sustainable palm oil.
What you can do:
- Get involved in this campaign by telling people why you care about choosing sustainable palm oil with #EveryPalmMatters on Instagram or Facebook.
- Choose products that use sustainable palm oil. I find this scorecard from the WWF really useful, it’ll tell you which are the brands you can find in Singapore which support the use of sustainable palm oil.
When we all buy products made with sustainable palm oil, we are casting a vote for the kind of world we want. Together, we can make a change in the world.