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Kerry Foods: Please stop using palm oil in your products!

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Kerry Foods produce dairy free pure sunflower margarine, as well as other varieties too,  which unfortunately contain palm oil.

There are lots of problems with palm oil production, which are all listed below:

 1. Environment: rainforest and climate change implications

 Forest and peat land clearance, as well as forest burning to clear the land, produces vast amounts of methane and carbon dioxide. 

Climate change, as well as threatening humans, is also a primary cause of Nonhuman extinction.  Furthermore, it is estimated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in its report ‘Last stand of the orang utan,’ that:

98% of Indonesian forests may disappear by 2020

The Indonesian government has dedicated an area the size of Missouri by 2020 for logging. Moreover, it can be seen from the sky that illegal logging has encroached on 90% of the national parks in Borneo. The government hasn’t been able to crack down on this, as corruption is rife, and some plantations are now protected by armed guards with military training and automatic weapons (UNEP).  Furthermore, the Malaysian government claims that Sarawak, the Malaysian part of Borneo, is being logged sustainably- but in fact its forests are being destroyed at one of the fastest rates in the world (Survival International). There is very little forest left now, in Borneo.

2. Human Rights Abuses

Tens of millions of Indonesians rely directly on the rainforest.

Thousands of Indigenous forest people are thrown out of their forest homes, sometimes violently, for each plantation. They lose their whole way of life, and of providing for themselves in their traditional methods.

Some members of the Orang Rimba were seen left by the wayside in Indonesia, helpless, with no way of feeding themselves and their children, with complete despair in their eyes (LUSH representative).  Members of the Penan tribe, in Sarawak, say that their hunters can no longer find food because of the destruction around them.  In theory, forest tribal peoples have land rights, but these are taken away and given to the developers.  Penan people have been threatened with death if they resist the loggers, who are backed by the government.  Loggers have also been accused of raping Penan women and girls (Survival International).  These tribes and others must be protected.

Growing palm plants may at first seem an attractive way of making money for local farmers.  However, even they may lose out and face poverty as the plantation owners don’t warn them that they will not be paid for the first seven years that the plants have to grow before they bear fruit. Some farmers have also been treated violently by the developers or used as slave labour.

3. Animal rights abuses.

When the rainforest is cleared, first by logging, then by burning, 90% of Nonhuman life is lost and cannot return.  This includes birds, mammals and reptiles.  Orang utans are particularly vulnerable as they only live in trees in Borneo and Sumatra.  Only 10% of Indonesia’s orang utan population now remains, and at this rate they are expected to be extinct in a few years time. Other species at risk of extinction are Sumatran tigers, Sumatran elephants, sun bears, bearded pigs and maybe species we have not yet discovered.

Sumatran tigers are critically threatened and, as of July 2011 only 400 remained in the wild.

Orang utans face being killed, burned, tortured, orphaned or maimed by cold-blooded loggers.  Adult orang utans may be shot outright and baby orang utans, who will not let go of a dead parent, may actually have a hand chopped off, to separate them, and then be taken away to a life of cruelty as pets, in some instances sold abroad for a large profit.  In Indonesia it is illegal to kill orang utans, but it continues despite it being reported to the government repeatedly by conservationists. Other animal lovers in Indonesia do not even know these killings are happening. The relatively sterile palm plantations that follow, when mature, house only 10% of the original wildlife.  Orang utans that return to eat the palm seedlings are tortured and killed by sadistic loggers

4. Unsustainable

Sustainable in the context of economic development, energy sources etc, means capable of being maintained at a steady level, without exhausting natural resources, or causing severe ecological or economic damage: sustainability (Wikipedia).

The palm oil industry causes massive ecological and economical damage to farmers and indigenous peoples and the trade is increasing massively. So, it aught to be obvious that the palm oil industry is NOT sustainable.

In an attempt to mislead consumers, manufacturers sometimes label the palm oil they use as ‘sustainably,’ ‘organically’ or Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) produced. But none of these ensure that the oil is ethically produced.

The RSPO is endorsed by the World Bank as the only accredited standard for sustainability. It appears on food labels and is quoted by companies that say either their palm oil is RSPO certified, an RSPO member or that the organisation they use to ensure sustainability is related to the RSPO. However in 2008, 245 organisations signed the Declaration of the Greenwashing of Palm Oil by the RSPO, which stated that the latter does not ensure sustainability and even fails to protect virgin rainforest, human rights or local farmers from violence. It is industry led and it lures people into a false belief that palm oil can be green, justifying further expansion. 

Campaign groups such as Friends of the Earth (FOE), Survival International and Greenpeace all agree that it is impossible to buy sustainable palm oil, as it is impossible to determine where it is coming from and whether or not it is causing deforestation.

palm oil production worsens climate change, which in turn causes the extreme weather conditions that are becoming more frequent. These are particularly bad for people who are in developing countries, and help to exacerbate already extreme poverty, for these people.

Manufacturers and palm oil

LUSH, a company that sells highly fragranced soaps and bath products, sent two representatives to visit Indonesia to check out the palm oil that they were using. They found the oil was not sustainable and it wasn’t possible to ensure that it would be in the future.They are removing palm oil from their products.  We are asking Kerry Foods to remove palm oil from their products, asap, and to use other oils instead, such as coconut oil/Rapeseed oil etc.

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