Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oil palm will lead to widespread ruin

Millions of acres of healthy rainforest have been logged, displacing and destroying the livelihood of thousands of indigenous people. All for what? Apart from timber profits, corporations with political connections are recklessly planting oil palm, hoping to cash in what was, for a while, a boom market.

This is what has caused Sarawak to lose almost 90% of its prime forest during Taib Mahmud's 30-year tenure as chief minister.

Once destroyed, the rainforest will never again be the same. In their rampant greed, these ecocidal speculators are wiping out what took nature more than 130 million years to grow. They may reap massive profits in the short term, but how long will the palm oil bubble last before it bursts?

KFC to stop using palm oil
(7 April 2011)

KUDOS TO KFC! Fast food chain KFC is to stop frying chicken in palm oil. The company says it is removing the vegetable oil from deep fat friers to gain a "double benefit" by reducing climate change and heart disease.

Used widely as a cooking oil, palm oil employs hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries but has a poor health and environmental record. Forests in Indonesia and Malaysia have been cut down to make way for plantations and the oil is high in artery-clogging saturated fat.

From this month KFC will use high oleic rapeseed oil at its 800 outlets in UK and Ireland, at an estimated cost of £1m a year.The move will cut levels of saturated fat in its chicken by 25 per cent, according to the company. Mark Bristow, head of KFC food assurance said: "Switching to high oleic rapeseed oil means not only can we offer our customers the benefit of reduced saturated fats, but the assurance we're doing everything we can to lessen our impact on the environment."

KFC added: "The global expansion of the palm oil industry has been a contributor to the destruction of tropical rainforests and peat lands to make way for palm oil plantations, which has inadvertently caused large amounts of greenhouse gases being pushed into the atmosphere." KFC will still use palm oil in fries, buns, tortillas and hash browns, but said it had begun talks with suppliers aimed at getting them to switch to alternatives or source only sustainably-certified palm oil.

Since the The Independent disclosed palm oil's role in deforestation two years ago, many retailers and manufacturers have agreed to buy supplies certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Campaigners want the European Union to force food firms to list palm oil as an ingredient because it is often listed as 'vegetable oil' on packs. Click here to read about's campaign to press for palm oil legislation.