If you don’t know by now, palm oil is pretty bad. The dramatic increase in demand for palm oil worldwide has sent out not just ripple effects on the environment, animals, and people, but a tsunami of dangerous impacts. However, recent propositions of getting the palm oil industry to go green by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) may be coming to fruition as the largest palm oil company, Wilmar, announces new policy changes to eliminate deforestation from its supply chains.
This is major news for the palm oil industry as current practices are directly responsible for an increase in deforestation, especially in Southeast Asia. The increase in palm oil plantations across tropical regions that grow monocultures of palms for their oil has led to the destruction of large sections of vital rainforest and habitats. This deforestation has resulted in a number of impacts from endangering animals to crushing human rights and contributing to rising greenhouse gas.
Wilmar’s new policy goes beyond just eliminating deforestation but looks to encourage the development of peat lands and even to incorporate human rights. If they are successful at changing their policies in these areas, Wilmar will contribute greatly to turning the palm oil industry in the right direction!
Wilmar International Agribusiness of Singapore has become the largest processor and merchandiser of palm oil, as well as the largest palm oil plantation owner and refiner in Indonesia. Since Wilmar is such a major player in the palm oil industry, controlling up to a third of the market, their business decisions will greatly influence how other companies act in the future and will hopefully lead to a less environmentally intrusive industry.
After years of environmental groups fighting to get the palm oil industry to change its ways, is Wilmar really taking the first step? Only time will tell if the company follows through on its new environmentally-oriented policy, but for now it’s definitely encouraging to see these efforts underway. Who knows, maybe one day soon we’ll see a “green” palm oil industry. Now, wouldn’t that be something?!