Palm Oil - The Silent Killer

Monday, 09. January 2017

Palm Oil - The Silent Killer

The palm oil industry has been under criticism for a long time. Many of us have heard of palm oil but only a few are aware of its true danger. Let have a closer look: 

Key Growing Area: Southeast Asia

About 85% of the palm oil produced globally comes from Malaysia and Indonesia. These countries face daunting problems, all of which were caused by the palm oil industry. This includes:

Environmental Damage
The deforestation of rain forests has taken on menacing proportions. The palm oil industry requires more crop area due to its increasing demand. Therefore, rain forests are continuously being cut down and replaced with monoculture. Every hour a rain forest area the size of 300 soccer fields is lost. This, of course, releases plenty of greenhouse gases that destroy the habitat of countless animal species. The damage is usually irreversible. If deforestation continues at this rapid rate 2022 animal species native to these rain forests will be destroyed in these countries as a result of the palm oil industry. 

Effects On Animals
More than 300 000 different animal species call the Southeast Asian rain forests home. Many of which have been injured, killed or driven out due to deforestation. These include the orangutan and Asian elephant. In the last two decades, for example, more than 50 000 orangutans have died due to the consequences of the damage done by the palm oil industry. Often the animals perish miserably, wounded by a machete or buried alive. Poachers and smugglers are able to venture further into the palm oil plantations to kill or see animals for profit. 

Social Impacts
Sadly child labour is of great importance in the palm oil industry. Instead of attending school children are forced to carry fruit or climb trees under scorching temperatures for countless hours. Oftentimes, these child labourers do not receive wages. This is but one of several human rights violations that take place on palm oil plantations on a daily basis. Furthermore, the indigenous population is exploited by large corporations that take away their land in order to increase their profits. 

Avoiding The Use of Palm Oil 

Palm oil is present in countless products under a variety of names that it is often difficult to avoid it. Nevertheless, one can accomplish a lot with only a few simple steps:

1. Inform yourself - Read the ingredients found in a product before purchasing it and do not use products that contain palm oil. It is mainly used in food, cosmetics and cleaning products. Especially highly processed foods contain palm oil.

2. Tell a friend - The more people know about it, the sooner the severe destruction of land and life to be stopped. Talk about it to friends and family emphasising the effects of using palm oil.

3. Take a stand - Write the companies that produce your favourite products, and ask them to stop the use of palm oil. It is possible to switch to less problematic alternatives. There are plenty of examples.

4. If all else fails, opt for products that contain certified palm oil. At least this option ensures that certain it should not go anywhere else, then buy products that contain only certified palm oil. Thus, at least to ensure that certain prescribed minimum standards are met.

PHB - Free of palm oil since 2014

PHB Ethical Beauty completely forgoes the use of palm oil. The brand was launched in spring of 2012. Since then PHB sought to produce its own products as environmentally friendly and as ethically as possible. The products were therefore always 100% vegan and cruelty-free and contain no problematic chemicals such as parabens. In 2013, PHB became aware of the effects of a new substance - palm oil. Although PHB did not use palm oil, but a few derivatives thereof. These derivatives were sourced from certified resources however PHB decided to completely forgo the use of palm oil after an in-depth examination of the problems that it causes. 

In spring 2014 PHB had formulated all their products new. They did everything to completely remove palm oil and its subproducts of their own products and replace it with more sustainable alternatives. It took a lot of effort by PHB, but in the end, the result was worth it. Since then, not only are PHB product 100% free from palm oil, they were able to improve their formulations as a result!