Taking Steps for Sustainable Palm Oil

There’s a lot of press surrounding the current state of palm oil, and Earth Balance® is doing something about it. As palm oil is one of the critical elements to our proprietary blend of oils, we’re dedicated to being proactive in growing awareness around the issue.

If you’re not familiar with the palm oil issue, it centers around the serious problems palm oil production creates for endangered orangutans in tropical rainforest regions, including Borneo and Sumatra. These problems include deforestation, habitat loss, and the harming of orangutans and other wildlife. Rather than re-using and re-planting previously deforested areas, some palm oil producers are instead choosing to destroy orangutan rainforest habitat to make way for palm oil plantations, leaving orangutans homeless and vulnerable to starvation, disease, poaching, and other conflicts—all problems pushing the orangutan species closer to extinction.

At Earth Balance we care deeply about this ongoing issue. While Earth Balance® is only a small palm oil user (we use less than 0.05% of all palm oil), we’re taking a big stand against unsustainable palm oil. Here’s how…

First, we are firmly committed to sustainable sourcing, and we believe in the power of informed consumers to change the world for the better. We are educating our suppliers about ways to safeguard the rainforest through sustainable palm oil sourcing, and we’re educating our customers about how they can have a direct positive impact by exclusively purchasing responsibly sourced palm oil products.

Thirty percent of our palm oil comes from Brazil. Our Brazil-sourced palm oil is 100% organic and is used in all of our organic products (and because orangutans are not native to South America, the Brazilian palm industry does not adversely impact their wellbeing). The remaining 70% of our palm oil comes from responsible sources in peninsular Malaysia (also a non-native orangutan habitat), which are all members of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the leading global organization developing and implementing global standards for sustainable palm oil production. We insist on continuing assurances from our suppliers that all palm fruit oil purchased for Earth Balance®complies with the RSPO policies, and we are committed to terminating any suppliers that violate these policies.

Second, we purchase GreenPalm Certificates, which work a lot like carbon credits. The money used to purchase these certificates helps improve the infrastructure and practices behind sustainable palm oil.  Moreover, we are supporting the action-oriented, on-the ground conservation work of Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) in Indonesian Borneo. OFI is a non-governmental, non-profit organization, led by world-renown primatologist and conservationist Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas. OFI is committed to rescuing and rehabilitating orangutans that are adversely affected by the palm oil industry, and has been working for more than 40 years to conserve rainforest habitat and educate people throughout the world about the orangutans’ plight.  Earth Balance® is especially proud to be a financial supporter of OFI’s ongoing initiative to return 330 wild-born, ex-captive rehabilitated orangutans back to the wild, into biologically-rich, protected forest, where they rightfully belong.

To donate to Orangutan Foundation International, click here.

For more resources, see the links below: