How Your Shopping Habits Can Save Orangutans

by Jo Macdonald

Palm Oil has been in the news a lot in recent years and most of us are aware of the devastating effects that the mass demand for it has produced, from huge areas of deforestation to loss of habitat for endangered animals such as Orangutans, Elephants and Tigers. 

According to the WWF Palm Oil is now in around half of all goods sold in supermarkets, including lipstick, shampoo, margarine, chocolate, pizza and bread, and is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet, and that demand is set to double by 2050.  If you’re an animal lover like me then this doesn’t sound good for our favourite forest dwellers.  In fact, the Palm Oil industry is the biggest threat to Orangutans and is having a devastating effect on numbers. 

It would be easy to think then that the best action is to boycott Palm Oil altogether but Palm Oil itself is not necessarily the enemy, rather it is the way it has been grown – with basically no consideration for the environment.  The Palm Oil Tree itself is actually a pretty good crop to grow and actually yields 4-10 times more oil per hectare than other oilseed crops, including soybeans and canola.  It's also financially rewarding and produces billions of dollars in revenue for producing countries and employs around 6 million people.  So if boycotting Palm Oil isn’t the answer, what is?

It’s increasing the demand for sustainably grown Palm Oil.

What can you do?

Check out if your favourite products contain Palm Oil by downloading this list by the RainForest Foundation

If they are then write to them and ask them to switch to sustainable Palm Oil instead.

Only purchase products that have the RSPO or Green Palm Sustainability logo on them showing that they use Palm Oil that has been grown in a sustainable way.

Get to know the hidden ingredients which contain Palm Oil and look out for them in your favourite products:

Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, Palmate, Palmitate, Palmolein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hyrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol

Share with others on social media etc. which products to purchase and which to avoid and let them know why you are making a change.

Learn more about Palm Oil over at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil website and get more involved in making sustainable Palm Oil the only Palm Oil available.

Unsustainable Palm Oil can become a thing of the past if we choose to use our consumer influence to make a change and, as women over 40, we are one of the biggest consumer groups in the world so have more power and influence than we might think to make a real change. Together we can ensure that animals like Orangutans are still around in the wild in the future.  Now that is something to celebrate!