Palm oil – the only way is ethics

Now, if you’re the kind of person who likes to read the ingredients on the stuff you buy, then you might have noticed that we put a bit of palm oil into the chocolatey coating on our bars. And if you’re the kind of person who’s interested in making the world a better place (our favourite sort of person, BTW), you might have thought that seemed a bit iffy.

It’s a controversial issue, no question. Palm oil can be very bad. The “dirty” stuff causes all manner of problems – the main ones being mass deforestation and the destruction of animals’ habitats. You’ve probably heard about the plight of the orangutan in Indonesia, and you’re right to be concerned.

The thing is, boycotting palm oil altogether isn’t an ethical option either. Here’s why.

  • Palm oil creates millions of jobs in Southeast Asia and takes local populations out of poverty.
  • One tree can create 40kg of palm oil every year for 25 years. It’s the most efficient veg oil in the world – and this means it takes it takes up less land than the alternatives.
  • Palm oil plantations give local communities access to proper healthcare and schooling, helping to change the fortunes of families for generations to come.

But there is good news. You don’t have to buy foods that contain bad palm oil, not anymore. And the people at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil are doing incredible work to make sure we have ethical, sustainable sources of palm oil, so that we can have a positive impact rather than a negative one.

Their mission is to totally transform the palm oil industry by reducing deforestation, preserving biodiversity and respecting livelihoods. Something we can all get behind.

So we only ever use palm oil that’s been given the stamp of approval from the brilliant RSPO. That way, it’s guaranteed that the companies who make the oil are respecting workers and their conditions, protecting ecosystems and the environment, respecting local community rights and providing equal opportunities for all. It’s the right thing to do.

To find out more, head over to the RSPO’s website – and be sure to check out this fantastic post from the producer of David Attenborough’s latest (incredible) series, Seven Worlds, One Planet.