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Palm Done Right™ - Why Is Palm Oil Such a BIG Deal? Part 1

Facts about Palm Trees and Palm Oil Products:

  • African Palm Trees are the highest volume producer of oil per acre of any plant.
  • Both palm and coconut trees only grow in the equatorial belt (rain forest).
  • Palm trees may produce twice-as-much oil per acre or hectare as coconut trees.
  • Palm trees live for about 40 years and produce year round.
  • There is a worldwide push to reduce the use of palm oil.
  • Palm oil and coconut oil are chemically very similar.
  • 70% of all cosmetic chemicals are made using palm oil.

Now let’s connect some dots: if palm trees produce twice as much oil as coconut trees, then if people stop using palm oil, the chemical manufacturers will turn to coconut oil. Which…uses twice as much rain forest land.

Do you really want to destroy twice as much rain forest?

One proposed solution was to write the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) standards and ask all the palm producers to follow them. There are four levels to this standard – none of which really protect the people or animals that have lived on the lands for millennia nor does the standard protect the diversity of rain forest. The highest level requires that one can track their palm products back to the farm (“Identity Preserved”). Natural Habitats is certified to this level of the RSPO Standard. The lowest level is similar to a cap and trade system – one buys “RSPO” tradeable certificates. There are multiple problems with this standard and with the economics of most palm producers. Not impressed.

A better solution is to use a model that empowers individual farmers and supports a return to rain forest land diversity and economically sane production. We should also demand that governments get out of the business: right now they are giving land over wholesale to large corporations who have no concern for the people, plants or animals that have always been on this land.

There is a way to grow what we need and do it without destroying the planet.

For more on that – see our blog: Palm Done Right™ – Part 2. A description of the model developed by Natural Habitats Inc. that is being used in Ecuador and Sierra Leone to grow and process organic palm in a completely sustainable model.

Save the planet, look good doing it.


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