Tag Archives: label

Most Big Brand foods and personal care items are made with unsustainable palm oil and it’s killing the world

Sustainably harvested palm oil
Source: NBPOL via RSPO website
Commercially harvested palm oil destroys wildlife habitat and contributes to global warming. That’s why we should be checking products to make sure they don’t contain it. 1 Million Women tells how to check products for palm oil and David Suzuki offers more suggestions:

  1. Shop from companies listed in the RSPO’s database of sustainable-palm supporters;
  2. Look for the RSPO trademark on products;
  3. Ask retailers to offer more certified sustainable palm oil products;
  4. Ask manufacturers to use certified sustainable palm oil;
  5. Visit the World Wildlife Federation to learn about other ways to get involved.

1 Million Women also explains why checking and boycotts are so important.

100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) is produced in a way that helps protect the last remaining habitat for wildlife and preserves the livelihoods of producers. By buying from companies using either CSPO or sustainable alternatives to palm oil, you can enjoy some wildlife-friendly, guilt-free chocolates.

Why is palm oil such a big issue?

When tropical forests are cleared to make way for oil palm plantations, carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2 ), the gas that is the leading cause of climate change; tropical deforestation accounts for about10 percent of total global warming emissions (UCS 2013).

Indonesia was the world’s seventh-largest emitter of global warming pollution in 2009, and deforestation accounted for about 30 percent of these emissions (WRI 2013). Indeed, for that same year Indonesia ranked second (behind Brazil) in the amount of global warming pollution it produced because of deforestation (WRI 2013).

It’s estimated that 98% of Indonesian forest will be gone in 9 years due to palm oil plantations.

Palm Oil is a major problem, and it is up to us as consumers to make a difference. It is up to us to boycott the brands that contain palm oil, or who are not trying to source responsible palm oil, and protest against those who create this destruction…

How is standing up against sustainable palm oil going to affect the food and beauty products we use at home?

Standing up might mean giving up: crackers, ramen, chocolate eggs, easter bunnies and many commercial brands of soap – in favor of buying less commercial brand products. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, is it? Having the chance to save the world and be healthier at the same time sounds like a pretty good tradeoff to me.

For more information on the drive to produce only sustainably harvested palm oil visit the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

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Organic food industry is being overtaken by mega corporations – take a look

mega corps taking over food production
Source: Phil Howard, Michigan State University

Assoc. Prof. Phil Howard of Michigan State University tracks the evolution – or degeneration – of the United States’ organic food standard. Howard told the WaPo,

It’s easier than ever to access to foods,” he said, “and the prices have come down. On the other hand, there is continual pressure to weaken the national organic standards to increase profits – and the big companies have the clout to do that.

Still, it’s disconcerting to learn that organic has become corporatized, and Howard certainly isn’t the only sustainability professional concerned about the trend. Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumer’s Association explains what the fuss is all about:

While Cummins believes that this is still largely true in practice, he says that this will change over time. I see some troubling trends, especially in organic dairy. In that sector there is a major move toward moving production from family farms to industrial feedlot factory farms. Horizon controls 70% of the US organic dairy market, and last year it was bought by Dean Foods, he told CorpWatch..

³No way in hell can you be organic if you have over a few hundred cows. After a certain size, the operation cannot be ecologically sound anymore, among other things because of the amount of manure produced, added Cummins.

³In California there are huge organic farms that produce organic lettuce and carrots in large monocultures, using large energy inputs and receiving subsidized water- three elements that are anti-environmental and unacceptable for those who want ecologically sound farming, he adds.

In a 2002 study conducted at the University of California at Davis, Karen Klonsky documents that organic food production in California is already concentrated. Two percent of organic farm operations, about 27 growers, bring in over $1 million a year and represent over half of the organic sales in the state.

Indeed while over 90% of all U.S. farms are categorized by the USDA as small, the other 10% — big agribusiness — provide approximately 60% of all food sales.

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