The conversion of tropical forests to palm oil plantations devastates ecosystems, causing erosion, pollution, and the loss of critical habitat for endangered species. The destruction of tropical forests must end. Palm oil must be produced regeneratively; governments and corporations must be held accountable for their roles, and consumers must use the product responsibly.
Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world, found in a variety of processed foods and body care products. It is a source of biofuel and animal feed. Palm oil plantations destroy rainforests and imperil endangered species, including orangutans, rhinos, gibbons, and tigers. The destruction is expanding. The loss of rainforests damages a global sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide. Smoke from fires generates air pollution and greenhouse gases. Chemicals in the milling process poison waterways. Labor conditions are poor, and the rights of Indigenous communities are abused. Criticism of the industry has led to violent reprisals. Reforms are necessary, led by consumers and governments. The demand for palm oil must be reduced. Degraded lands need to be restored and fragmented wildlife habitats reconnected.