Palm oil is found in every part of our lives. It can be found in lipsticks, candy bars, biodiesel and more. It is also a lot cheaper and more efficient to produce than vegetable oil. But unfortunately, there are a lot of negative side effects, such as impacting orangutans or Southeast Asian forests.
Globally, demand for palm oil has increased since the 1990s, with the United States and Europe as its top consumer. According to the Food and Drug Administration’s ban on trans fat means that palm oil is the “clear alternative” for producers. Palm oil increased by 60% when this ban was introduced.
However, palm oil plantations meant that hundreds of football field sized rainforests are destroyed every hour. While there are not dependable numbers to show what the impact of deforestation was caused by palm oil specifically, many environmentalists agree that it is one of the main factors the lead to deforestation.
Animals, and indigenous communities are threatened by the palm oil industry as well. Land owned by indigenous communities have been seized and used for palm oil plantations, and inhabitants become dependent on low-paid wage labor. Indigenous communities have also been consistently fighting against these corporations.
Palm oil industry have also been associated with widespread human rights abuse, which includes forced and child labor. Many of these laborers face awful working conditions. Although palm oil is considered a better alternative to trans fat, the production of palm oil is leading to mass deforestation, and invasion of human rights.