Did you know that up to half of all products in the average Australian supermarket basket, such as baked goods, confectionery and cosmetics, contain palm oil?
A highly efficient and versatile oil, global production of palm oil has increased tenfold since 1980, driven largely by population growth, rising incomes and urbanisation. Conservative estimates see a further 50% growth by 2050.
The impacts of this rapid expansion of palm oil have been both negative and positive. On the one hand, palm oil can produce up to ten times the yield of alternative vegetable oils and has contributed to unprecedented economic growth in Southeast Asia. On the other hand, oil palm is a major driver of deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia, destroying the habitats of critically endangered species, displacing some local forest-dwelling communities and contributing to harmful climate change.
What WWF is doing
The problem is not palm oil itself; it’s where and how it is produced. Through WWF-Australia’s Market Transformation Initiative we are working to shift palm oil markets away from business as usual.
This involves a range of approaches:
- Corporate engagement
- Consumer awareness
- Policy advocacy