This blog post is sponsored by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are, as always, my own.
If like me, you are striving to live a clean lifestyle, you will have become a bit of a pro at label reading in a mission to find out what’s in your food. It is only when you become more mindful about what you are putting into your body, and the bodies of your family, that you start really paying attention to what’s in that packet of cookies you just picked up.
I had just started really getting into clean eating when I first heard about palm oil and the huge controversies surrounding the production of this popular commodity. I remember sitting on the beach reading an article on palm oil production while my husband played in the sand with my then one year old. The facts I read were atrocious, and the accompanying photos were even worse.
What I learned, was that in the never-ending pursuit of making the cheapest food and household products possible, ‘bad’ palm oil is being produced in a way which is rapidly destroying virgin rainforests and ecosystems and causing air pollution to rise. Furthermore it is badly affecting the lives of many species, including the beautiful orang-utan and the Sumatran Tiger, so much so that they are now at the risk of extinction. I vowed then and there to never use products containing palm oil again.
Sounds easy right? Well…did you know that palm oil is in almost 50% of the everyday products we buy at the supermarket? It can be found in chocolate 😥 , cookies, noodles and baked goods. Avoiding processed foods on your clean-eating lifestyle? Well it can still be found in around 70% of the world’s cosmetics and household detergents. So chances are, even if you avoid those aisles of processed foods, that lipstick in your handbag contains a sneaky little serve of palm oil.
What’s in your Food: Sustainable Palm Oil?
I started digging (because we all know I love researching right?? #alwaysageek, #cantstopwontstop), and it turns out there IS such a thing as ‘good’ palm oil. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), have developed a set of standards that they are encouraging the industry to adopt. Their aim is to work alongside industry officials to cease the use of any lands that are virgin forests, those that support fragile ecosystems or are particularly important for wildlife. They also plan to reduce the use of pesticides and fires, all whilst respecting workers rights, providing fair working conditions and consulting with local people regarding new plantations.
Currently, products containing good palm oil aren’t as easy to find, but they are there (you just have to look). Think of it like the Fair-Trade stamp when it comes to chocolate; it is hard to find, but it is there and worth searching for. Organisations such as the RSPO are working hard to ensure these products become more the norm, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. As we now stand only 21% of the global palm oil being consumed is certified as being from sustainable sources. The RSPO is working towards (and confident in their abilities of) achieving 100% certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) in Europe by 2020. What an admirable ambition!
If you are interested in reading more about the RSPO or sustainable palm oil then pop over and have a look at this page. I have also included a link to certified sustainable products here in case you need it.
What are your thoughts on the use of palm oil? Are you happy to buy products that include it? Will you be searching for products displaying the certified sustainable badge? If you’re happy to say yes to good palm oil, and want to help out, then why not join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter. Use the hashtag #GoodBadPalmOil.