Earth Day means #InvestingInThePlanet. Combat illegal deforestation by planting a tree or joining an ecotour with the Orang Utan Republik Foundation.
Palm oil is one of the most versatile plant oils that exist on the planet. It could be found in almost all ingredients used today in cosmetics, food, personal care, and cleaning products. The benefits of palm oil are vast– millions of farmers are reliant on this sector for their livelihoods. It is the highest-yielding vegetable oil crop, making this plant not only efficient but economical. Indonesia is currently the single largest exporter of palm oil in the world, with Malaysia trailing closely behind.
The stunning, virgin forests of Sumatra and Kalimantan are hotspots for palm oil plantations. Though, with all its benefits comes an equal danger to the rainforest. In many cases, palm oil cultivation is a driver of deforestation in the world's only orangutan habitat. A 2021 investigative report from Greenpeace revealed that one in five hectares of oil palm in Indonesia is illegal. It is also reported that the clearing of biodiverse rainforests for oil palm plantations has been the largest cause of deforestation in Indonesia over the past two decades. This means palm oil has been produced inside national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and protected sites across Indonesia. Malpractices within the industry have also led to major land conflict, land displacement, and heavy violations of labor rights for indigenous communities.
Indonesia’s remaining forests balance delicately at the edge of crisis. Ending the production of palm oil would be catastrophic to the Indonesian economy, however, immediate action must be taken to protect the last orangutan habitats. Consumers are encouraged to act from the ground up by demanding brands use sustainable palm oil. Supporting the transition to sustainable palm oil safeguards farmers, protects the rainforest and wildlife, and aids in poverty reduction. Making sustainable palm oil an industry standard holds suppliers accountable for adopting more environmentally friendly practices.
Palm oil will stick around for the foreseeable future. The industry will only transform through the collaboration and cooperation of every stakeholder in the supply chain. The Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is currently the closest certification system consumers can depend upon to promote sustainable palm oil and products with palm oil. The RSPO represents the largest, independent third-party certification for palm oil production that protects the environment and local communities. By encouraging companies to adopt and invest in sustainable palm oil practices, you are investing in the planet.
What other solutions are available with the Orang Utan Republik Foundation?
Plant a tree or a forest. This Earth Day, you can combat deforestation and #InvestInOurPlanet by planting a tree. This simple action helps reforest land where palm oil meets the orangutan habitat. Become an ambassador of the forest by planting a tree today!
Go on an Ecotour with the OURF and Orangutan Odysseys! The Orang Utan Republik Foundation is hosting a 14-day ecotour in late 2022 around Central and East Kalimantan to see orangutans in their natural habitat. This excursion will help you discover the power and magnificence of the rainforest while showing you the environmental challenges of palm oil plantations in Indonesia. Learn more about this once-in-a-lifetime experience and sign up by following the link. Note: space is limited on the OURF tour, but other tours are available through Orangutan Odysseys.
Be a responsible consumer. Choosing sustainable palm oil products is a must to halt deforestation. By learning to identify palm oil and its derivatives, you can stop purchasing products that have contributed to illegal forest clearing. A great way to start this journey is by downloading a smartphone app such as the Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping app. Scan the barcode of a product to find out whether it’s orangutan-friendly.
Get Involved with Earth Day 2022
More than 1 billion people in 192 countries now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Today, we invite you to be a part of Earth Day and to help further climate action across the globe.
Smart companies are discovering that it is no longer a choice between going green and growing long-term profits — sustainability is the path to prosperity. So, for both humanitarian and business reasons, it is imperative that companies of all sizes take action and embrace the benefits of a green economy. Tell business leaders to get on board with a sustainable future or get out of the way. Learn more about what you can do here: https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2022/
This article was written by Valentina Scaife for Orang Utan Republik Foundation