No one who believes in the future of Planet Earth can fail to have been affected by the plight of orangutans in Malaysia and Borneo. David Attenborough has given us all the visual evidence we need. Palm oil plantations are destroying tropical rain forests and killing their inhabitants. The stragglers that remain are doomed to starvation unless they are rescued by local wildlife charities.
The destruction of the world’s rainforests is a truly terrifying prospect. Without the equatorial belt of tropical forest the loss of biodiversity, reduction in the capacity to store carbon and the consequent rise in temperatures will set the world on a path of no return.
The facts speak for themselves:
- Over half of the tropical forests worldwide have been destroyed since the 1960s, and every second, more than one hectare of tropical forests is destroyed or drastically degraded; at this rate we could see these forests vanish altogether in our lifetime! (International Union of Conservation of Nature, 2020).
- Deforestation is considered the second major driver of climate change, responsible for 18-25% of global annual carbon dioxide emissions.
- Destroying forests and replacing them with palm oil plantations wipes out critical habitat for animals that have nowhere else to go.
- Half of the Bornean orangutan population has been exterminated in just 16 years.
- More than three-quarters of Indonesia’s Tesso Nilo National Park, home to tigers, orangutans and elephants, has been converted into illegal palm oil plantations.
- Globally, 193 critically endangered, threatened and vulnerable species are threatened by palm oil production (Greenpeace, 2019).
Greenscents does not want to be directly or indirectly responsible for the declines in tropical rainforest. As well as the loss of so many iconic animal species or the destruction of two thirds of world plant species that are found there.
So what are the alternatives?
Sustainable palm oil is a con
In 2004, the palm oil industry set up the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). RSPO members have their palm oil ‘certified sustainable’ and brands using this palm oil get to claim that their palm oil is ‘sustainable’.
However, research carried out over 15 years has shown that from 2001 to 2016, total tree loss in Indonesian palm oil plantations was equivalent to 34.2 per cent of the area covered by the plantations but the loss in certified sustainable plantations was higher – 38.3 per cent (The Independent, 2018).
RSPO members were right at the centre of Indonesia’s 2015 forest fires crisis. When the fires returned in 2019 roughly three-quarters of these fires linked to palm oil companies were on RSPO members’ land. This means that so-called ‘sustainable’ palm oil growers are – in some cases – part of Indonesia’s environmental crisis.
RSPO certified palm oil cannot be trusted and there is no alternative for Greenscents but to become certified palm oil free.
Our certifiers – POFCAP
Based in Australia, POFCAP is an independent, not for profit Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark. POFCAP’s goals are 2 fold:
1) To enable consumers, who wish to avoid palm oil for allergy, dietary or ethical reasons, to see at a quick glance if a product, company or process is palm oil free. When consumers see the certification trademark on a product’s packaging or as a part of a company’s marketing they know it has been thoroughly researched and certified by an International and Independent Certification Trademark Programme.
2) To create an alternate funding stream and distribute all profit from this Certification Trademark back into organisations working hard to protect rainforests around the world and all they contain.
We really liked these objectives and Greenscents is proud to be funding an organisation where profits reach NGO’s working to save the rainforests. We also love the POFCAP logo:
This is Jabrick, the orangutan who lost her mother aged 1 and her life aged 2 as a result of rainforest destruction. A poignant story but an uplifting one as POFCAP was born from this tragedy. The POFCAP logo is dedicated to Jabrick and all the other animals who have lost their lives due to deforestation and habitat destruction.
If you would like to see all the brands that are certified palm oil free with POFCAP you can look at a list here https://www.palmoilfreecertification.org/pof-companies.
More information on the Greenscents palm oil free certification can be found on our website here. If you have any other questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.