What are the problems with using palm oil? – Calder Adams

Understanding Of Palm Oil

Palm oil is used for 50% of the packaged products we find in supermarkets, which is a high percentage of packaging, which can cause higher demands of products and deforestation.(1) Palm oil is needed in society because we frequently use products that include palm oil. Palm oil is a highly versatile product, it is often used as a cooking oil in many countries. And it’s semi-solid at room temperature, so it remains spreadable, and it is resistant to oxidation so it gives products a longer shelf life. Furthermore, palm oil is very stable at high temperatures so it gives friend food a crispy texture and also it is odorless and colourless, therefore food products are not altered.  All of the properties of palm oil make cooking with palm oil more appealing for consumers.(1) As well as being versatile, compared to other vegetable oils the palm oil is a very efficient crop.(1)                                                                                                                                                                                                   Palm oil is also used in animal feed as a biofuel in many parts of the world.  However, this does not include the United Kingdom.(1) In order to manufacture palm oil products you need to kill and cut down palm trees and plants to be used in products.(1) However, when palm oil is being manufactured, it can cause all sorts of problems in our environment.(1)

Palm trees are native to Africa, but were brought to South Asia about one hundred years ago as an ornamental tree crop.(1)  Now Indonesia and Malaysia together make up eighty-five percent of the oil supply. However, there are over forty-two countries around the world that also produce palm oil.(1) Palm oil accounts for thirty-five percent of the world’s vegetable oil production.(2)  There are 1.6 million lowland rainforest in Sumatra, and 2.6 million in Borneo. Borneo has already been approved for clearance. And 15% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are a result of global deforestation.(3) Oil palm cultivation increased from 10 to 17 million between 2000 and 2012. which was expected to increase. “Paterson et al” “indicated that climate change will affect oil palm production severely”.(3) The environmental, social and economic impacts of the palm oil industry in Indonesia are extensive. The increasing expansion of palm oil plantations is rapidly contributing to the demise of some of the world’s most bio-diverse tropical rainforest, exacerbating global climate change. Palm oil plantations support significantly fewer species than primary forest, degraded landscapes and even other agricultural crops.The palm oil industry in Indonesia has grown at an extremely rapid rate. The rainforests are destroyed during the establishment of these palm oil plantations.(3)

The primary rainforests cleared for palm oil production sit on top of peat bogs. Peat bogs store more carbon dioxide than any other ecosystem in the world. Burning these peat bogs can release high levels of carbon dioxyde into the air and can also form fires underground.(2) Palm oil trees grow best on land that has not been previously used for agriculture. Therefore, every day more virgin rainforests are cleared to make room for palm oil production.(2)There is increasing information on how 21st-century climate change is likely to decrease the sustainability of plantations with serious implications for food security, biodiversity loss and the economies of palm oil producing, and other countries that use the palm oil in numerous commodities.(3) Chemical pesticides and fertilizers that are used in palm oil production run off into the land, polluting rivers and poisoning people and animals. (2) Often land is cleared for palm oil production using the slash and burn method, and can also often create fires that get out of control, destroy land, harm people and animals and create smoke. (2)

  • By Calder Adams


(1) https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/8-things-know-about-palm-oil#:~:text=What%20is%20the%20problem%20with,pygmy%20 elephant%20and%20Sumatran%20rhino.

(2) https://orangutan.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Whats-Wrong-with-Palm-Oil-FLYER.pdf

(3) https://content.ebscohost.com/ContentServer.asp/EbscoContent=dGJyMMvl7ESeqK84xNvgOLCmsEqeqLFSsqu4Sa%2BWxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMOzpsUm0qbVMuePfgeyx43zx1%2B6B&T=P&P=AN&S=R&D=owf&K=146807169


One Reply to “What are the problems with using palm oil? – Calder Adams”

  1. Hi Calder!!

    Your post is interesting. I found a while that palm oil is really bad for Orangutans. Especially how they live on those trees. It’s interesting because creating palm oil creates a lot of pollution. As well as how the palm oil cost is affecting the economy.

    Here are a few links that can help with your research!

    Good luck with your research!!

Leave a Reply