Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Palm oil

24 April 2018

Frozen food supermarket Iceland has pledged to remove palm oil from all of its own-brand lines by the end of 2018, citing concerns over collapsing orangutan populations and deforestation. The initiative - the first of its kind among major UK supermarkets - should reduce demand for palm oil by over 500 tonnes a year.

23 April 2018

A study shows that 100,000 orangutans in Borneo have been lost between 1999 and 2015 - around half of the population. The results show that this precipitous decrease is not just due to deforestation, since numbers of orangutans also declined in selectively logged and intact forests.

26 March 2018

A report from the European Commission Directorate-General for the Environment reviews environmental, social and economic aspects of palm oil production and consumption, and evaluates existing palm oil sustainability initiatives.

29 November 2016

This article evaluates the impact of voluntary crop sustainability standards on biodiversity protection. The authors reviewed the 12 major crop standards (such as Organic cropland (IFOAM), Fairtrade and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), and found that only two of these prohibited all deforestation (Rainforest Alliance/Sustainable Agriculture Network and Proterra). 

24 October 2016

A key ingredient in junk food is vegetable oil. 60% of this oil is from oil palm and soybean, production of which has been expanding in Southeast Asia and South America, resulting in widespread deforestation and biodiversity loss. In this article, the authors calculate the amount of current deforestation due to vegetable oil consumption (through junk food) and extrapolate vegetable oil demand to predict the deforestation future consumption patterns would cause by 2050.

24 October 2016

The largest share of agricultural land in tropical landscapes is managed, not as large-scale industrial plantations, but by smallholders. This Nature Communications article integrates the interdisciplinary research of more than 20 research groups, and seeks to address gaps in our understanding of the ecological impacts of this smallholder-managed agricultural land. The study uses a multifaceted approach to investigating the crop choices that farmers make and how these choices impact on ecological and economic outcomes.

17 October 2016

In this letter, over 100 researchers and practitioners argue that media coverage of the 2016 International Peat Congress (the first to be held in the tropics) was dangerously misleading in its assertions that peatland management under palm oil plantations was sustainable (see for example this news article by BorneoPost). They argue that such articles, by downplaying the issues imposed on peatland ecosystems by agriculture, undermine recent real and promising advances in tropical peatland management.

20 September 2016

Strong demand for vegetable oil has led to a boom in the Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil industries since 1990. Typically planted in extremely large monoculture plantations, the crop has been implicated in biodiversity loss and human rights issues.

1 August 2016

This study warns that converting Africa's tropical forests into monoculture palm plantations will cause a significant spike in carbon emissions and highlights that regulation can assist in achieving net-zero carbon while meeting production goals.

24 July 2016

The neotropical macaw palm (Acrocomia aculeata) is increasingly promoted for large-scale cultivation as a sustainable biomass feedstock in Latin America. This paper warns however that a crucial proportion of areas predicted to be suitable for cultivation are located in areas of high conservational value. The paper also points to climate change scenarios which predict a substantial reduction of suitable areas in coming years.

16 February 2016

This report by a partnership comprising the International Trade Centre, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and the International Institute for Sustainable Development summarises the recent market trends and growth in voluntary sustainability standards (VSS), for nine commodities.

17 December 2015

This report from the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), reports that there has been 'steady' progress on certified sustainable palm oil use ­ with palm oil imports 72% sustainable in 2014 - up from 55% in 2013.

9 October 2015

This report by the Science-Policy Partnership Network synthesizes current scientific information to help oil palm policy makers make land-use decisions which jointly meet biodiversity and carbon conservation agendas.

The Science-Policy Partnership Network is led by University of York and was set up by the ‘Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Oil palm Research’ (SEnSOR) project with funding from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and includes representatives from oil palm growers, consumer goods companies, NGOs, government and the RSPO.

18 February 2015

A set of papers from the First International Conference on Global Food Security is now available online. The conference attracted 600 participants from 65 countries. All of the papers in the special issue are open access for the first year and available here.

23 October 2014

In this report commissioned by Center for Global Development, researchers at Chalmers University, Linköping University and Vienna University describe how international trade with agricultural and wood products is an increasingly important driver of tropical deforestation. More than a third of recent deforestation can be tied to production of beef, soy, palm oil and timber.

Pages