Palm oil companies blamed for loss of orangutan habitat

The pressure on palm oil, used as an ingredient in food and personal care products including cosmetics, is likely to increase as Indonesian forests are cleared through burning for illegal expansion of palm oil plantations. Recent reports from Banda Aceh, circulated globally by the End of the Icons coalition, are giving the Indonesian government a black eye and supporting the growing call for an international boycott of palm oil products.

Palm oil is an interesting target for environmental activists. Not only are forests reportedly being burned illegally to expand palm oil plantations but the illegal activities are reportedly being ignored by government enforcement authorities because of corruption. The forest areas being cleared are known as the home of orangutans, animals Red Listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as endangered. Unless the Indonesian government or an industry coalition act quickly to assure a certified sustainable supply of palm oil, GallonDaily predicts that it will only be a matter of time before young people are standing outside Canadian supermarkets handing out pictures of orangutans in support of a call for a palm oil boycott.

The End of the Icons coalition reporting service, providing mostly translations of Indonesian media articles, can be found at http://endoftheicons.wordpress.com/

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil hosts a web page at http://www.rspo.org/ – so far approximately 12% of world production of palm oil is certified sustainable but adoption of the “Green Palm” logo is extremely limited and virtually unknown amongst major palm-oil containing brands in Canada.

An interesting argument against a palm oil boycott can be found at http://realizebeauty.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/lets-not-boycott-palm-oil/

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