COP27: Food industry plan to end deforestation ‘falls short’
A plan to end deforestation in soy, palm oil, beef and cacao production by 2025 — released by 14 major agricultural commodity companies including Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, and JBS — falls far short of what would be needed to meet global climate goals, environmental groups say. No paywall
Peatlands, not rainforests, hardest hit in Indonesia fires
Forest fires burned 1.64 million hectares across seven provinces of Indonesia this year, with peatlands accounting for 41 percent of the area lost to flames, said the Center for International Forestry Research on Monday. The figures, based on satellite data, show that only a portion of the the fires could be attributed to direct land-clearing work for palm oil plantations.
At global summit, farming and land ‘central pillars’ in climate solution
At the two-day Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, food, forestry and agriculture—long viewed as step-children when it came to climate solutions—were recognized as central to whatever progress is going to made in reaching climate goals established in the 2015 Paris accord. Attendees …
Global glut of palm oil adds to India’s health woes
Rates of obesity, diabetes and other diet-related diseases have soared in India and other developing countries in recent years, coinciding with a flood of cheap palm oil that is used in everything from processed snacks and fast food to traditional foods like samosas and poori, according to the latest story from FERN, published with The Nation. No paywall
U.K. retailer, Citigroup take actions against palm oil
It was a tough week for the multibillion-dollar palm oil industry. A British grocery chain with 900 stores said it would remove all palm oil from its branded products by the end of 2018, and Citigroup announced it would suspend loans to IndoAgri, the agribusiness arm of Indonesia’s largest conglomerate, the Salim Group. No paywall
Indonesian Papua, the new frontier of palm oil plantations
In three months at the end of 2017 and start of this year, some 2,300 hectares (9 square miles) of forest in Indonesian Papua, the western half of the island of New Guinea, were cleared, most likely for palm oil plantations, says a new report from the World Resources Institute. Based on …
EU votes to ban biodiesel made from palm oil
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)
Farmers murdered to make way for palm oil
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.
Palm oil’s hidden presence in personal care products prompts reform
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)
Climate change ushering in era of deadly heatwaves
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.
Palm oil industry confronts its human rights problem
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.
Indonesia extends for two years its moratorium on forestland conversion
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.
Nutella producer: Back off our palm oil
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.
A growing list of clothing companies vows to stop destroying rainforests
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.
Palm oil is blamed for massive deforestation in Borneo
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.
Activists opposing palm-oil industry are killed
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.
Indonesia strengthens moratorium against conversion of peat lands
Researchers say Indonesia is clearing more forest land – as much as 2 million acres a year – than any other nation in the drive to produce palm oil and logs for paper mills. The government tightened a moratorium against converting peat swamps to plantations this week, said Associated Press, a step that a conservation group says will reduce fires during the dry season and could cut Indonesia's greenhouse gas emissions substantially.
A ‘cold plasma’ way to avoid trans fats in hydrogenated soybean oil
Two researchers from Purdue developed a hydrogenation process to solidify soybean oil for use in foods without creating trans fats, which can raise cholesterol and lead to heart disease and diabetes. The FDA started a three-year phase-out in 2015 of partially hydrogenated oils from the food supply.
NGOs leave Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in disgust
Some activist groups are abandoning the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil—a panel of palm producers, consumer companies, and activist groups that provides sustainability certificates for the industry—over complaints that it has not done enough to correct industry abuses.