The European Parliament passed a Renewable Energy Directive on Wednesday that would ban the use of biodiesel made from palm oil by 2021, citing the environmental damage caused by the fuel. Malaysia, a major palm oil producer, called the decision a trade barrier, and said it was a form of “crop apartheid” because the EU will still allow other oilseeds to be used for biofuels. (No paywall)
Six indigenous farmers were brutally killed in Peru by land traffickers trying to make way for a palm oil plantation, adding to the more than 120 environmental and land defenders who have been murdered around the world in 2017 alone.
Consumers are beginning to recognize the huge environmental costs of palm oil use in the packaged foods industry, but what’s less known is how widely the ingredient is used in everyday products sold by the personal care industry. In FERN’s latest story, “The Makeover,” Jocelyn Zuckerman reports on this industry and its attempts to reform its supply chain in a story produced with Vogue Magazine. (No paywall)
Almost a third of the world population is now exposed to deadly heatwaves that are a result of climate change, says a study published in Nature Climate Change.
In the last decade, consumers across North America and Europe have become increasingly aware of the environmental costs of producing palm oil, now the world’s most widely consumed vegetable oil. The industry’s social problems, however, have remained largely in the dark.
For the third time, Indonesia has extended its moratorium on issuing licenses to clear forests and peat land, says Reuters. The nation's environment and forestry minister told the news agency the extension will run for two years and allow officials time to develop regulations on forest use.
The maker of Nutella says the hazelnut spread would never be as good without palm oil, reports Reuters. The Italian company, Ferrero, defended the oil after a European Food Safety Authority report suggested that it is potentially carcinogenic when heated above 390 degrees Fahrenheit. The oil is regularly heated to high temperatures in industry manufacturing to remove its red color and odor.
Ralph Lauren Corp. joins a growing number of fashion companies that have pledged to not use products derived from cleared forests or that required grabbing land from indigenous people, says Reuters. The company says it has new plans to track its sourcing and avoid parts of the world that practice extreme deforestation and human rights abuses.
More than half the deforestation in the Malaysian half of Borneo is due to palm oil plantations and wood-pulp companies, according to four decades of satellite images, says Reuters. Borneo is shared by Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producers, as well as Brunei.
Environmental activists are being assassinated around the world because of their opposition to the palm oil industry, says Jocelyn Zuckerman in FERN's latest story, published with The New Yorker.