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What's the Problem with Palm Oil

What's the Problem with Palm Oil

Palm oil is a specific type of vegetable oil extracted from the fruit of oil palms. It is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world and is found in many supermarket products. Palm oil is a vital agricultural commodity that is traded globally.

Palm oil is considered a more efficient crop than soybean oil, requiring less land, fertiliser, pesticide, and energy to produce.

That is not to say there is no problem with palm oil and its production. Here, we're covering some of the issues related to palm oil and what you can do about them:

Problems With Palm Oil

While the production of palm oil is truly a profitable industry and provides jobs for thousands of people, those benefits come with disadvantages that need to be weighed, too:

Deforestation and Biodiversity Loss

The palm oil industry is responsible for devastating environmental impacts across South East Asia.

Palm oil production requires large tracts of land, and clearing rainforests and other natural habitats are often the first step in establishing a palm oil plantation. This destruction of natural habitats leads to the loss of valuable biodiversity and contributes to climate change.

The palm oil industry is responsible for biodiversity loss across South East Asia. The clearing of natural habitats for palm oil plantations destroys the homes of many species of plants and animals, and the loss of these habitats can lead to the extinction of species.

Human Rights Issues

The palm oil industry has long been linked to human rights abuses across South East Asia. Palm oil plantations are often established on the land of indigenous peoples, who are often forcibly removed from their homes. Workers on palm oil plantations are usually paid meagre wages and are subject to poor working conditions. There have also been devastating reports of child labour and forced labour being used on palm oil plantations.

Climate Change

The palm oil industry is indeed among the most significant contributors to climate change. The expansion of palm oil plantations is a primary driver of deforestation in tropical rainforests, which releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. In addition, burning forests to clear land for palm oil production creates even more emissions. The cultivation of palm trees and palm oil production also generate greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change.

In addition, the palm oil industry is a major user of fire. Farmers burn large rainforest areas yearly to clear land for palm oil plantations. This releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants into the atmosphere.

Water Pollution

The palm oil industry pollutes rivers and waterways with toxic chemicals from palm oil production. These chemicals can cause health problems for people and animals who rely on these water sources for their livelihoods.

What Actions Can You Take to Help With the Problem Associated With Palm Oil?

Here are some actions you can take to help with the problem associated with palm oil:

1. Avoid products that contain palm oil

The best way to ensure that you're not contributing to the problem is to avoid palm oil products. This includes many everyday items such as cosmetics, cleaning products, detergents, and processed foods.

2. Spread the word

You must educate yourself and others about this particular issue and the devastating effects of palm oil production. The more people are aware of the problem, the more pressure there will be on companies to change their practices.

3. Support companies that are working to solve the problem.

Several companies are working to solve the problem of palm oil production. Support them with your business and tell them that you appreciate their efforts.


Despite the disadvantages of palm oil production, the industry is still booming. It's a stable source of income for many tropical countries and provides jobs for thousands of people. That said, one should not overlook that the industry also has a major impact on the environment and the economy. It's important to compare the pros and cons of palm oil production before deciding whether or not to support it.

The Living Co. is a company known for its eco-friendly approach. We offer only sustainable homeware and natural evolution foods, among others. Check out what The Living Co. is offering now, and always shop consciously!


Photo by Dimitry B / Unsplash


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