We are well on our way towards the festive season, and Christmas shopping is high priority for many of us. However, when you’re buying your mince pies, chocolate and other festive goods, make sure you steer clear of products containing unsustainable palm oil.

Some quick facts about palm oil:

  • Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees
  • There’s no denying it’s an extremely useful oil as it is so versatile and poses many benefits i.e. resistance to oxidization means it give products a longer shelf life
  • Palm oil is in nearly everything. At least 50% of all supermarket products contain palm oil, from pizza to chocolate to shampoo and lipstick – it’s everywhere! And many of the big brands contain it too

So, what’s wrong with palm oil you ask? Well, quite a bit actually.

  • Palm oil is one of the world’s leading causes of rainforest deforestation. Plantations are expanding and clearing some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems. This in turn is contributing heavily towards climate change and our carbon footprint
  • Irreplaceable wildlife species such as the Sumatran elephant, Sumatran rhino and Sumatran and Bornean orang utans are being pushed closer to extinction as their habitat is lost. In fact, between 750 – 1250 orang utans are killed each year due through conflict with humans at palm oil plantations
  • Smallholders and local people are often driven out from their land which they have protected and inhabited for yearsHuman rights violations such as child labour, abuse of labour rights and violence are often associated with palm oil plantations

Why sustainable palm oil?

Although using other vegetable oils seems like the best solution to stopping such a destructive production, it would actually create similar if not more severe social and environmental problems. Other types of oil such as sunflower, soybean or rapeseed need even more land for production as palm oil produces a larger amount per unit of cultivated land. Palm oil is also much more useful than other types of oil in terms of texture, taste and preservation of products.

What can you do this Christmas?

Give yourself a present this Christmas - download Giki Badges, the miracle mobile sustainable shopping app. The app identifies whether products contain sustainable palm oil by scanning the bar code – it’s that simple. In addition, it also identifies other qualities, such as whether the product is organic, UK made, free from animal testing, free from additives and so on.

Once you find which manufacturers and supermarkets use sustainable palm oil, give them your support. But also ask them to consider clear labelling that identifies where sustainable palm oil has been used.

For more information about the sustainable palm oil campaign, click here.

Merry Christmas!

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