Eating KitKat destroys our Environment!

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We all should protect our environment. One of the most dangerous threats is the clearing of our rainforest. 

But, what is the current situation of this area? As you probably know, there is a huge destruction of our rainforest. Not only the human activities like clearing, but also natural aspects contribute to the reduction of this area. In Panama were found traces of anthropogenic farming, that was done about 2000 years ago, destroying the environment, but because there wasn't a huge destruction the rainforest could regenerate again. Regeneration isn't possible nowadays.
Formerly the rainforests comprised about 15-18 million km². By 1989 this region was reduced to less than eight million km² just because of human forces. The annual deforestation is supposed between 100.000 and 200.000 km². In only one second the devastation of the rainforest amounts one football field!
The Asian rainforests are the most destroyed rainforests.  About 70% of the former deforested. the following countries are Brazil, Indonesia and Zaire. If the deforestation and the human population growth increase more and more, then the rainforest will disappear in about 30 years. Certainly there is a protection of tropical forests, but comparing to the whole area it isn't much. Only three to four per cent of the Brazilian rainforest is under the governments protection, for instance. Furthermore, many of these sanctuaries don't exist in the real world. They exist on papers. Besides, the protected areas are mostly inaccessible and there is no opportunity for farming. But anyhow, there is planted one tree for ten trees, that were cut down. Of course this plantations don't gain the biodiversity of the primarily rainforests.

Now we’re going to focus on the palm oil production, which increased by 18 percent from the previous year in 2017. This happened because of the weather patterns, that were conducive to high productivity. Palm oil became one of the most controversial ingredients of the 21st century. So what are the reasons for that?

On the one hand, palm oil has cardio-proactive effects when combined with a balanced diet. Also as far as consumables go, palm oil is the only edible that contains high levels of vitamin E class known as tocotrienol. This discourages the formation of tumours and blood clots and is also known to prevent heart disease and some cancers. The last point for the use of palm oil is the cheap source of vegetable oil. For vegetable oil producers, the African oil palm tree is a cost effective way of meeting market demand. It thrives in hot Asian environments and is relatively easy to farm, harvest and process. But there are also some arguments against the production of palm oil. One point for that is our responsibility to nature and the environment. Across the globe, palm oil is largely harvested at the expense of tropical forests and other sensitive ecosystems. Companies ruthlessly clear biodiversity rich sites in order to make way for monoculture oil palm plantations. Another big part of the palm oil production is the labour exploitation as well as seriously lacking in street credentials. This exploitation of workers happened particularly in Asian regions. In Malaysia, most workers are poor migrants from countries such as the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal and Indonesia. It is a very abusive system that includes labour-trafficking, debt bondage and unfair payments. A lot of those workers are undocumented and Malaysian law is very unfriendly to migrants.

We have to rethink about it and ask ourselves if we really want to support that. It damages our environment, people are being discriminated against and we as the consumer have the chance to change that or not even support those conditions.

Nestlé is a company, that is known for the usage of palm oil. Especially in their chocolate bar KitKat. But, why do they use palm oil? The answer is simple: Palm oil is the cheapest  edible vegetable oil. It is primary used in the food industry. Even though having a lot of vitamins, about 50 per cent of the palm oil contains saturated fatty acids, which can lead to elevated cholesterol levels or other heart diseases. In addition to that, they also comprise fatty acid esters like glycidyl fatty acid ester and 3-MCPD fatty acid ester. These are roumored to be carcinogenic. Which is one reason of why palm oil isn't the best choice of vegetable oil for KitKat. Not to forget all the environmental issues of the unsustainable palm oil plantations, that have been discussed before. The company Nestlé has been criticised in the past because of the deforestation of the rainforest caused by palm oil plantations. The Greenpeace KitKat campaign in 2010 got to the company, which resulted in a promise. They wanted to end the deforestation of the rainforest in their own supply chain. The goal was to use sustainable gained palm oil, where no rainforest had to be destroyed for. This goal has been missed, according to the Guardian. “Four years later we can now trace over 90% of our palm oil back to the mill of origin and almost two thirds back to the plantation level,” said Nestlé spokeswoman Peggy Diby. “Our ambition is to raise this figure to 100% by 2020, back to plantation.” (The Guardian, 2017). Nestlé isn't still helping enough to achieve this goal. The dates are always deferred. "Nestlé policy states that by 2015 the entirety of its palm oil purchases will come from sustainable sources." (The Treehugger, May 17, 2010). But still a third can't be traced to the palm oil plantations. This of course lets people think, that they still have palm oil gained from illegal palm oil plantations. It's time for action and no empty promises.

Alternatives for Palm Oil (in chocolate):

• a special yeast that had been used in the wine industry (even though it is now more expensive than regular palm oil, it's costs can be reduced within the next two to three years due to a progressing research community); the yeast is expected to be a truly versatile and planet-friendly alternative to palm oil in the future

• scientists in Abu Dhabi are working with a species of alge that is also producing palm acids which are the most important ingredients of natural palm oil

• for domestic usage you can also use coconut-, avocado- or olive oil which have similar effects as palm oil; sometimes they are even cheaper than palm oil

Where to find alternatives for KitKat:

• in the United Kingdom at Waitrose or at M&S by Booja Booja or by The Divine Company

• in Germany at drug stores like Rossmann by Alnatura or by GEPA companies

• just look for Toblerone, Whittakers, Loving Earth, Lindt (ONLY non-filled chocolate), Twirl or Cadbury (ONLY plain chocolate)

Help us to stop the deforestation by supporting our petition with your signature. Thank you!