The Palm oil story
Let me tell you a story of a faraway place where the orangutans swing in the trees and the tigers prowl, there grows a magical fruit. When pressed, it makes a very special kind of oil which makes chocolate less melty, cookies creamier, crisps more crispier and soap…well… soapier. It can even help make your car a bit more carbon neutral.
This magical fruit is really easy to grow, and the fruit has lots of this special type of oil – which makes people from around the world keep coming back to buy this oil because it’s easy to produce, the price is much lower.
Yet the people kept coming, for more… and more. In the places this fruit grew, the people there burned down the forest to grow more. This left all the creatures of the forest with nowhere to live and the air filled with acrid smoke. This made the people who used this magical oil very upset – they love the magical creatures of the forest, the orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos. So, it was decided they shouldn’t use the oil any more – but that didn’t stop the forest from burning. The forest kept burning because things went on as before, this magical oil had already found its way into everything.
This isn’t a story though, it’s reality. Oh and the magical fruit, it’s not magic, it’s the fruit of the oil palm tree, Elaeis guineensis. As a high-yielding crop, its cultivation is at least 10 times cheaper than soy, a once-industry leader. It’s also extremely resistant to rancidity, lending its use to the food, cosmetic, and skin care industries. Around 70% of the world’s cosmetic and skin care products contain palm oil and its derivatives, according to Croda global accounts vice president, Chris Sayner.