Why Palm Oil can be important for Vegans


Palm oil, derived from the fruit of the palm tree, is itself a vegan product, yet its use is contributing to the deaths of endangered orangutans and continued use may end up resulting in the extinction of the orangutan species.

Orangutans, native to Indonesia and Malaysia, and found in the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo. This endangered species, shares 96.5% of our DNA, that makes them one of our closet relatives.

Yet, we humans are doing as much as we can to kill them by destroying their habitat.

One of the reasons, our use of palm oil. Rainforest the size of over-300 soccer fields is destroyed every hour to create land for palm oil plantations.

[Crude Palm Oil] is used mainly as an ingredient for food production (i.e. margarine, ice cream, biscuits, cooking oil etc). It also has a number of other non-food uses including greasing and softening agent in leather production and as an ingredient in the production of plasticisers, paint and surface coatings. PKO, however, is generally used for other non-food purposes such as soap making, detergents, cosmetics, ingredient for insecticides and fungicides, hydraulic brake fluids and other substances used in the electronics industry.
Palm Oil Action: FAQs

Palm oil is also known on labels as
Vegetable oil – on food labeling, it may be hidden as “vegetable” oil.

In cosmetics, quite often in shampoo:
Sodium Laureth Sulphate (may also be sourced from coconut)
Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (may also be sourced from ricinus oil)
Sodium dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
Palmate
Palm Oil Kernal
Palmitate

Elaeis Guineensis
Glyceryl Stearate
Stearic Acid

Other products which contain palm oil

Steareth -2
Steareth -20
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (both palm and coconut are sources)
Hydrated palm glycerides
Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye (derived from vegetable stearic acid)
Cetyl palmitate and octyl palmitate (and anything with palmitate at the end)

via Palm Oil Action: Shopping Guide

As this Greenpeace ad, which Nestlé attempted to ban shows, every choice we make, every action we take has an impact on the life or death of another.



Disclaimer: photo of Orangutan sourced from Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindsaykasin/470736278/available for re-use if unaltered. Use of this photo in no way implies that the owner of this photo in anyway endorses the author of this blog, the owner of this blog, or the issues of this post. It’s use here is for illustrative purposes, and not an endorsement of the topic.

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2 Comments to “Why Palm Oil can be important for Vegans”

  1. Thank you for this post. I know this is a serious issue among AR activists, conservationists, and environmentalist, but I had never thought to cover it in my own blog. Your piece is excellent, though.

    • Feel free to steal the idea or even the words or links, and beware of those who brandish pitchforks and burning torches, pointing fingers and crying out “single issue cause!”
      Thank you for the feedback.

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