Palm Oil Industry Far From Hitting Sustainability Deadline By 2015

December 4, 2011

The palm oil industry is having a tough time hitting a sustainability target set for 2015 by multinational food companies. After that, the firms will only buy the oil from verified, sustainable sources.

As Sara Schonhardt reports today in the New York Times, palm oil producers will have to push harder in the next 3 years than they have, so far. At stake are sales ot companies like Unilever, McDonald’s and Nestlé.

“Palm oil, a key ingredient in a variety of major consumer goods like cookies and household cleaning products, accounts for around a third of the world’s vegetable oil trade,” Schonhardt writes. “Interest in palm oil as an alternative fuel is likely to increase investment, with consumption expected to grow from 50 million tons a year now to at least 77 million tons in 2050, according to the environmental group W.W.F. (World Wildlife Fund).”

Palm oil plantations have goggled up vast stretches of rain forest, with palm oil production acreage up 2100% between the early 1980s and 2007, she notes, and the land clearing continues. That reduces wildlife habitat and causes other environmental damage.

Here’s her full report.


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