Palm oil review: ‘no easy answers’

The July/August issue of Ethical Consumer magazine has a focus on palm oil and the issues wrapped up in its expanding cultivation, leading to deforestation, lost habitats and a hastening of climate change.

Significant concerns over palm oil stretch back two decades but, the authors argue, it’s an issue that “continues not to offer up any easy answers… the lack of any clear alternative makes it hard to give up on altogether”.

While some call for a boycott, the vast range of foods and non-foods that include palm-derived ingredients make this no easy goal. Certification schemes for ‘sustainable palm oil’ have been posed as an option but the very notion that these words can ever go together is hotly contested.

Ultimately, the magazine concludes: “We have taken the view that avoiding palm oil altogether or choosing products with the very best sustainability certifications are both reasonable responses to a very complex set of issues.”

Cover of Ethical Consumer magazine special issue on palm oilWhile full online access to Ethical Consumer’s back issues and product reports requires a subscription (£29.95 annually), you’ll find an excellent palm oil article on their website.

Ethical Consumer is always a good reference point for bulk buying clubs and food co-ops grappling with many complex issues around food sourcing.

About this site

This site aims to encourage and support the setting up of further bulk buying clubs and small food co-ops in Ireland by sharing the experience of individuals who have operated a ‘pop-up wholefoods’ model over a number of years. Occasional blog posts also consider product-related issues.