1 Tahrcountry Musings: Environmental depredations of palm oil industry: The way out

Friday, November 14, 2008

Environmental depredations of palm oil industry: The way out

It is a known fact that palm oil plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia are destroying rainforests and threatening the very existence of endangered wildlife there. Millions of tons of oil is produced yearly which has a great bearing on the economy of these two countries. Is there a way to balance the needs of economy and conservation? There is. The option is to go in for palm oil produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way certified as compliant with the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Principles and Criteria,

RSPO was formally established under Article 60 of the Swiss Civil Code. The initiative was taken by WWF. The association is based in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is based in Kuala Lumpur.

The RSPO brings together oil palm growers, oil processors, food companies, retailers, NGOs and investors. The target is to ensure that no rainforest areas are sacrificed for new palm oil plantations. Plantations have to minimize their environmental impacts and the basic rights of local peoples and plantation workers have to be respected.

The first shipment of 100% certified palm oil has recently gone to Europe. If buyers worldwide decide to buy only certified palm oil it will be a big boost for the conservation. Creation of awareness worldwide is the need of the hour. You can write to the importers of your country requesting them to buy only certified palm oil. Your small action is bound to have an impact. The beneficiary will be the rainforests and denizens of the wild like tigers and orangutans.

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