Palm Oil Production and the Devastating Effects of Its Far-Reaching Use

Updated: Feb 2

As I research the products I have been using and learning about how I can make choices that help the environment and also lessen the toxic chemical load I put into my body - I recall hearing about how intense the demand for palm oil is for use in MANY of our everyday products and how it has contributed to the widespread deforestation and destruction of animal habitats, as well as perpetuates the violation of human rights of its producers and laborer's on a mass scale.

My conflict resolution background has laid the groundwork for my awareness regarding these issues. Almost everything we buy has palm oil in it - this is because of how inexpensive it is to buy in large quantities to use as a preservative. Palm oil is widely used in food processing and personal products like shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning products, and biodiesel. With the pressures many companies face to find alternatives to using trans fats, companies have resulted in sourcing out the most financially beneficial alternatives, but at what cost?

A few selected countries have acknowledged the issues palm oil production creates and have made attempts to radicalize the regulation of palm oil usage within their respective industries. Norway sees a sharp drop in palm oil biofuel consumption after a ban on government purchasing ( - by Lauren Crothers on 17 June 2019).

Here is some information I have found on this subject:

Here are 10 companies that have already committed to sourcing palm oil for their products from sustainable sources. Many have promised to make the switch by 2015. At the moment, some of these corporations have made more progress than others toward this goal. At the very least, these companies are taking a step in the right direction to a more sustainable future and hopefully others will follow suit (

1. Hershey

In 2011, Hershey Co. agreed to purchase all of its palm oil from 100 percent sustainable, traceable sources by 2015. Since then, the company has made incredible progress and now plans to reach this goal by the end of 2014.

'Update as of 2019' - "Well On the Path" Rating

Here is a link to the WWF statistics website which outlines where Hershey is on their aforementioned goal (

2. Walmart

In 2010, Walmart launched a Global Sustainable Agriculture campaign to help small farmers bolster their business. Walmart highlights its goal to change its practices of sourcing beef and palm oil, naming these industries as the most environmentally damaging. By mandating that private Walmart brand products be sourced from sustainable palm plantations, Walmart estimates it will reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by five million metric tons by 2015.

'Update as of 2019' - "Middle of the Pack" Rating

Here is a link to the WWF statistics website which outlines where Walmart is on their aforementioned goal (

3. Avon Inc.

The makeup giant, Avon Inc. joined the RSPO as part of the 2011 “Avon Palm Oil Promise” campaign. While Avon Inc. does not consider itself a “significant” user of palm oil, it has committed to using sustainably sourced palm oil to help drive the future of the industry.

4. P&G Chemicals

Proctor & Gamble (P&G) manufactures basically every consumer good you could imagine. Because of this, they have a pretty big stake in the palm oil industry. To ensure the palm oil used in their wide range of products is sustainably sourced, P&G offers “supplier and partner coaching” on the principles and criteria to meet RSPO standards. P&G has also partnered with nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders to hold their practices accountable.

'Update as of 2019' - "Middle of the Pack" Rating

Here is a link to the WWF statistics website which outlines where Proctor & Gamble (P&G) is on their aforementioned goal (

5. ConAgra

ConAgra is an American packaged food company that produces b