I am not entirely sure why it has had to be little old Norway who has offered to pay Indonesia $1bn if they agrees to chop down fewer trees, rather than the whole entire global community paying to halt tropical deforestation. If we can save their forests it will massively increase the chance of saving the world’s climate so it should be a collective effort to help and to get them to stop issuing licences and start passing laws to protect relevant trees. Progress has been too slow and there continues to be a steady destruction of the worlds tropical forests because corruption is a huge problem as are levels of poverty and economic infrastructure demands.
Indonesia has become one of the world’s biggest deforesters and when we were in Sarawak a few years ago, we drove past many oil palm plantations and last year the urgency became even greater as they use fire to clear their peat bogs which blanketed vast parts of South East Asia in a noxious haze that closed schools and disrupted flights. I took these photos of the orang-utan’s in the tropical forests when we were there.
Borneo Island is home to some of the last remaining untouched wilderness areas and one of the world’s most endangered great apes the orang-utan and palm oil is a crop that has come to symbolise the destruction of Indonesia’s forests. It needs state protection for the animals and for the indigenous people’s territory,
The popularity of oil palm is understandable, it is easy and cheap to grow and has a very high yield compared with other oil seed crops. Indonesia has grown it for generations and global demand has soared because it is an oil that is used in hundreds of household products, from shampoo and soap to doughnuts and chocolate.
We need to help change that landscape because unless we decide unilaterally to pay them to stop growing it as well as stop buying the product, how are they going to be encouraged to stop? Then we can so that we can encourage them to focus more on their eco-tourism instead.
I wrote a post in 2013 that explains about palm oil and lists the Easter Eggs that should not be bought this year. Here it is again as a reminder:-
To be honest I had no idea that so many of the products we buy weekly in the supermarket contain palm oil. I’m not sure the task of becoming a responsible consumer is going to be an easy one, judging by how much of a fuss my children have already kicked up because the Easter eggs of their choice do not get bought this year because they are not high enough up the list below. “BUT THOSE ECO ONES TASTE DISGUSTING” said a group of children I was trying to persuade – “they’re just bitter, with no sugar in”…you have no idea how hard it is for us parents to save the planet.
The Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) and Ethical Consumer Magazine have done a survey of more than 70 brands of Easter eggs in response to the increasing threat that unsustainable palm oil is posing to the world’s rainforests, their indigenous wildlife (in particular the Orang-utans) and the people whose livelihoods depend on the forest.
If we, the consumers decided to vote with our feet we could actually make a real difference. If we all stopped buying products that contained palm oil in, then the bottom would drop out of the market. It’s a very simple economic supply and demand argument. We demand it. Indonesia, Malaysia and increasingly Angola and the rainforests of the Congo Basin in Africa are supplying it.
Lindt, Thorntons and Guylian come bottom of a league table of chocolate Easter eggs scored on use of unsustainable palm oil.
“Consumers are unaware of palm oil content”, the campaign says, because of current labelling laws. Palm oil is a key ingredient in many products – including chocolate and biscuits – but companies are not required by EU law to label products containing it until December 2014. WHICH MEANS THAT NOW WE HAVE NO EXCUSE, because they have to say if it’s been included.
The aim of the campaign is to encourage consumers to buy the best-rated products, forcing those companies that are not taking their environmental responsibilities seriously to use more sustainably sourced palm oil.
Divine and Booja-Booja were deemed to have the best overall credentials, with neither using any palm oil in their chocolate products. Traidcraft, Co-operative Food and Sainsbury’s also scored very highly. Waitrose, just one point lower. But my favourite Terry’s Chocolate Orange? Rubbish, right at the bottom – same with Flake – in fact same with all Kraft products that aren’t on their organic range.
The bottom three chocolate companies were deemed to be Lindt, Thorntons and Guylian. Lindt reportedly supplied inaccurate figures to Ethical Consumer, while Thorntons and Guylian failed to submit any documentation to the organisations that set international sustainable palm oil standards.
Cadbury now owned by US company had poor scores while Green & Black’s, well-known for its organic range, did much better. This year I have checked the back of the M & S eggs and some contain the palm oil, others don’t so make sure you look at the list of ingredients carefully.
The guide to chocolate is the first of a series of guides that will rate all consumer products using palm oil. Future guides will include biscuits, cereals and spreads.
According to a recent RFUK report, 1m acres of rainforest in the Congo Basin is being developed by palm oil producers. With 284m acres of suitable soil in the region, developers are actively seeking large sites.
Tim Hunt, co-director of Ethical Consumer, added: “Consumer power has the potential to help save the Congo’s rainforests and its wildlife that are under threat from palm oil production. This Easter we’re asking chocolate lovers to buy their Easter eggs from those chocolate companies that we’ve identified as taking an ethically responsible stance on this critical issue.”
There was an article in the Guardian that I’ve taken this information from. If you want to see the original article, the link is here:-