Thursday, November 5, 2009

Don't Palm us off!

I just got an email from my friend Mick, he is an expedition leader and very much engaged in promoting sustainable food, amongst other things. He would not eat fish on board our vessel if he is not 100% sure that the fish is from a sustainable source. This time it is about Palm Oil......something we all eat a lot more of than we think and it is shocking what is done in Indonesia with the forests just to produce the oil. I have seen it myself on how much of the forest is being burnt all the times, as we sail past the islands...and I was wondering what they are doing!!

I know that this campaign is mainly for Australia and New Zealand, but it can only be good if everybody hears about it. We are consuming Palm Oil everywhere and I think it is like with anything else, just to be aware of it is a good thing.

Here his email:

Hi All,

I just wanted to draw attention to the “Don’t palm us off” campaign being run by the Melbourne Zoo. I will be talking about this to guests in my lecture and I wanted all onboard to be aware of it. It is simply a matter of us being able to make an informed choice and have standards of food labelling that enable us to make such informed choices regarding sustainable oil palm products.


•Over 85% of the world's palm oil comes from Malaysia and Indonesia.
•Today, the most common cause of deforestation and fragmentation in Indonesia is related to palm oil development.
•An estimated 40% of food on our supermarket shelves contains palm oil.
•In SE Asia alone, the equivalent of 300 football fields are deforested every hour for palm oil production.
•Palm oil typically costs the lives of up to 50 Orang-utans each week.
•Australians unknowingly consume on average 10 kilograms of palm oil each year because we do not currently have the ability to exercise consumer choice.
• Sustainable Palm Oil Plantations are a possibility however you need you to tell FSANZ you want palm oil labelling if they are to become a reality.
•Once palm oil is labelled, consumers can actually drive a market for proper certified sustainable palm oil because they can demand it of manufacturers (as we’ve seen with Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance products).
•Palm oil from certified sustainable RSPO sources only accounts for 8 percent of the global supply of palm oil.
•90% of Orang-utan habitat has been lost already. If all of it is lost then so are the livelihoods of many people.
•The industry needs to increase yields on land that has already been cleared but right now there is very little incentive for them to do this.
•We share 97% of our DNA with Orang-utans. You could say they are our wild cousins.

The 'Don't Palm Us Off' campaign is pushing for Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to change legislation to have palm oil labelled on all food products.

Please follow this link to participate in the campaign

In the words of Jane Goodall “A Reason for Hope”;

“Let us remember, always, that we are the consumers. By exercising free choice, by choosing what to buy, what not to buy, we have the power, collectively to change the ethics of the business of industry. We have the potential to exert immense power for good – we each carry it with us, in our purses, cheque books, and credit cards.”

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