The biodiesel transition program, the world’s most ambitious, will require 15 million hectares (37 million acres) of new oil palm plantations, according to Arifin Tasrif, the minister for energy and mines. Shara Ticku, founder of C16 Biosciences, one of the biotech firms pioneering a synthetic alternative, said in a statement that “over the past 30 years, 50% of palm oil plantation growth has come at the hands of deforestation of tropical forests and peatland”. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. According to the WWF, 300 football fields of rainforest are cleared hourly in Southeast Asia for palm oil. That’s why it’s very wrong if biodiesel is categorized as a renewable energy.”. 80 percent of that destruction is for cattle ranching (raising cows for meat and dairy), and the remaining 20 percent is to grow (and then cut down) trees to produce palm oil, paper products, wood, and more. Sigit Hargiyanto, the head of the biofuel department at the energy ministry, played down concerns that the biodiesel program would run out of palm oil. “This will create a deficit. Deforestation is one of the major sustainability challenges for the agri- and aquaculture sector. Palm oil is one of the most efficient and widely used vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees. Additionally, oil palm plays a crucial role in driving deforestation dynamics. LPEM UI estimates the figure will balloon to $60 billion if the government increases the biodiesel blend to 50%. Palm oil, aka palm kernel oil, is a type of vegetable oil, similar to canola oil, soybean oil, or grapeseed oil. The deforestation was first detected in March 2020 by U.S.-based campaign organization Mighty Earth, which found 221 hectares (546 acres) of forest cleared in the concession of PT Medcopapua Hijau Selaras (MPHS), a subsidiary of the Jakarta-based Capitol Group. Dryness? Because the palm oil industry has a stake in the RSPO, I take the organization's endorsements with a grain of salt. But to do that, the total planted area of oil palms will have to be at least 22.7 million hectares (56 million acres), according to the new study by the University of Indonesia’s Institute for Economic and Social Research (LPEM UI). He also pointed to President Widodo’s recent courting of electric vehicle maker Tesla, in which he advertised Indonesia, with its rich deposits of nickel, as a potential global hub for the production of electric vehicles. It's worth noting that the RSPO does have oil palm producers as stakeholders — though it has environmental organizations as stakeholders as well, in an effort to produce palm oil in both a lucrative and sustainable way. The balance of about $55 million will come from biodiesel producers through an increase in export tariffs, effective May 1 next year. A newly published study puts the figure of new plantations to supply the program at 9.3 million hectares (23 million acres). Do your own research on the RSPO (and other sustainable palm oil certification groups) before trusting their advice, since everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to supporting controversial industries. “We’re not against biodiesel, but we don’t agree with biodiesel that’s not sustainable, not transparent and not traceable,” Ricky said. Although this is a lower projection than the ministry’s, it still represents an area two-thirds the size of Indonesia’s Java Island. Palm oil is the most widely traded vegetable oil on the planet, according to a study published on NCBI. Deforestation for palm oil has led countries to restrict imports of the edible oil, while labour concerns has seen the U.S. block some Malaysian palm oil products. For decades, palm oil production has been a driver of deforestation in tropical rainforests in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. If it’s too high, such as B40 or even B100, then it’s going to be difficult to fix [the industry].”. Palm Oil Giant Wilmar Unfazed as Watchdogs Cry Foul over Papua Deforestation. However, despite such widespread perceptions, palm plantations are responsible for only 3% of global deforestation. Ricky also suggested the government broaden its focus to developing and scaling up other forms of renewable energy. The export tariffs are collected by the state palm oil fund, known by its Indonesian acronym BPDP-KS. As mentioned above, developers often torch and bulldoze areas of biodiverse rainforests to create palm oil plantations. Avoiding palm oil entirely is extremely difficult. Deforestation for palm oil has led countries to restrict imports of the edible oil, while labour concerns has seen the US block some Malaysian palm oil products. “If we don’t export [palm oil] to them, then we can just use it for ourselves,” he said. Beef may pose a greater deforestation risk than other commodities such as palm oil and timber thanks to “extremely poor” efforts to trace where cattle are reared, according to a new report. Today, the food giant still cannot document the source of almost a third of the palm oil it uses. According to Orangutan Foundation International, palm oil is the No. “If we don’t, there’s a likelihood for land conversion. Much of the expansion of palm oil harvesting occurs on land that was previously used for growing crops like coffee or rubber. Traction Asia researchers attribute this gap to the government’s failure to account for the inefficiency of oil palm plantations when setting its biodiesel targets. “Can [we] say which land the current biodiesel get its palm oil from? In 2010, Nestlé gave itself ten years to switch to 100% deforestation-free palm oil. Once these vehicles are being developed, what use will the biodiesel be?”. You may have also noticed some strong opinions on palm oil in the environmentalist community: some people refuse to eat any food or buy any cosmetics made with palm oil, while others will only buy "sustainable" palm oil, while others who are not bothered by palm oil at all. When news of the Amazon rainforest fires shook the world in August 2019, many people were shocked to find out the main causes of the fires. Palm oil is the most commonly consumed vegetable oil in the world and can be found in around half of the packaged goods in supermarkets globally, ranging from staples (such as bread and noodles) via cosmetics (shampoo and lipsticks) to luxuries (ice cream and dessert). By 2000 they have been almost entirely cleared in Sulawesi , and predicted to disappear within few years in … In Indonesia, rising demand for palm oil and timber has led to the clearing of tropical forest land in Indonesian national parks.According to a 2007 report published by UNEP, at the rate of deforestation at that time, an estimated 98 percent of Indonesian forest would be destroyed by 2022 due to legal and illegal logging, forest fires and the development of palm oil plantations. Yes — as mentioned above, palm oil typically comes from oil palm trees, known as Elaeis guineensis trees. Roughly half of all household items in the US are products that contain palm oil, from shampoo and cleaning solutions to food. Banner image: Forest cleared to make way for palm oil plantation in Indonesia. 2 producer. 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Arkian Suryadarma, a forest campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia, said it’s highly likely the biodiesel program will lead to deforestation. Mongabay is a U.S.-based non-profit conservation and environmental science news platform. This year, the government was only able to replant 67,018 hectares (165,605 acres), or 37% of its target. The government has long sought to boost plantations’ productivity through a replanting program, replacing aging oil palms with higher-yielding varieties. Speaking at a parliamentary hearing last month, he said that was how much new palm oil production would be needed to replace current oil consumption of a million barrels a day. That’s why RAN follows the supply chain to influence the big brands you see on grocery store shelves. “There’s no need to be shy” about reducing the target, Ricky said. “The potential for renewable energy in Indonesia is not only from biodiesel, but also solar and wind,” Ricky said. Our EIN or tax ID is 45-3714703. #plantbased #GoVegan #vganghttps://t.co/8mFzTgv7Bk. Another study, by Traction Asia, warns that the low productivity of existing plantations and ambitious target of the biodiesel program could see demand outstrip supply by 2023. Just because a product doesn't include "palm oil" on the ingredients list doesn't mean it is palm oil free. Palm oil stakeholders, from sourcing organizations to environmental groups, have seen little progress in stemming deforestation, despite sustainability certifications in the palm oil market for more than a decade. That moratorium,  imposed by President Joko Widodo in September 2018, is due to expire in September 2021. “So in my opinion, it can be guaranteed that the palm oil produced to become fuel [is sustainable] because it has to go through the [certification] procedure,” Sigit said. The Palm Oil Transparency Coalition (POTC) is formed of businesses working together in a pre-competitive coalition to remove deforestation and exploitation from the palm oil production sector. A key reason the replanting program has fallen short is because its funding, raised through mandatory export tariffs slapped on palm oil companies, has largely gone toward subsidizing biodiesel production and sales, to make the fuel more competitive with conventional diesel. The organization adds that palm oil (including palm oil derivatives) can be found in nearly 50 percent of the packaged products in supermarkets. Palm oil is used in everything from processed foods (such as ice cream, margarine, and cookies) to makeup to personal hygiene products (like shampoo and soap) to laundry detergent to biodiesel to animal feed, according to the WWF. That's likely because it is one of the cheapest oils available, and it produces a high yield. Does Palm Oil Cause Deforestation? 1 cause of orangutan extinction. That moratorium,  imposed by President Joko Widodo in September 2018, is due to expire in September 2021. If that’s the case, then biodiesel will be much less friendly to the environment than diesel based on its emission that we count from the life-cycle analysis.”. Since its establishment in 2015 until 2019, the fund collected 47.2 trillion rupiah ($3.3 billion) in revenue, and gave 71% of it back to biodiesel producers — and less than 5% to small farmers for the replanting program. Demand for palm oil has become increasingly controversial due to the commodity's role in driving deforestation, particularly in south-east Asia, including through devastating forest fires which in 2015 produced more carbon emissions that the entire daily emissions of the U.S. But the replanting program has consistently fallen short of its targets. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. The deforestation of a peat swamp forest for palm oil production in Indonesia. The program is currently at the B30 stage, which means the diesel sold at the pump contains a 30% blend of palm oil-derived biodiesel. Read on for answers to some of the Internet's most-asked questions about palm oil, which should help you make an informed decision about whether it's something you want to continue consuming. The conversion to date, and future expansion, threatens biodiversity and increases greenhouse gas emissions. It’s expected to reach the B50 stage, a 50:50 blend, by 2025. Now, huge swathes of oil palm trees dominate the tropical landscape of South-East Asia, especially Indonesia and Malaysia, which make up over 85% of the global supply of palm oil. Palm oil and deforestation. Palm oil is primarily harvested from palm trees that grow in rainforests — and as explained by Rainforest Rescue, developers often bulldoze or set fire to land in rainforests to make room for more palm oil plantations. NGOs also accuse its palm oil … As mentioned above, developers often torch and bulldoze areas of biodiverse rainforests to create palm oil plantations. If this can be answered, I’m sure there’s not going to be a debate.”. What was initially an oversupply will become a deficit.”. Palm plantations are reputed to be a major factor in deforestation. Palm oil is extracted from the fruit of the oil palm tree, Elaeis guineensis, which thrives in humid climates. This biodiesel program was initially created to absorb excess crude palm oil production, but unfortunately it has become a boomerang as the [biodiesel blend] target kept being increased. So, new tactics have come into use. “The biodiesel program is clearly not a solution for the country’s fiscal state and will worsen the implementation of Indonesia’s climate commitment because it is oriented toward deforestation and new land clearing in forest areas. In 2019, Nestlé recorded over 1,000 cases of deforestation daily. Palm oil production is said to have been responsible for about 8% of the world's deforestation between 1990 and 2008. Variations in global market prices of palm oil are closely linked to deforestation in areas which are geo-climatically best suited for growing oil palm and they amplify the importance of the political cycle. The corporate drivers of deforestation not only have massive influence over how their suppliers produce palm oil, soy, cocoa, pulp, paper, timber and beef, but also over each other. Palm oil is the most widely traded vegetable oil globally, with demand projected to increase substantially in the future. However, because primates are often directly hurt by the palm oil industry, many vegans and environmentalists do their best to avoid palm oil — even though that is sometimes impossible, considering how many ingredients sneakily contain palm oil. Palm trees grow best in humid, tropical climates, and the trees grown and cut down for palm oil primarily grow in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa. He also said deforestation fears were overblown, given that the palm oil used in biodiesel production must be certified sustainable, and that there’s a moratorium currently in place on issuing permits for new plantations. The money will go toward subsidizing biodiesel prices at the pump. They note that, despite Indonesia being the world’s biggest producer of palm oil, its plantations have lower yields than those in Malaysia, the No. It dated the clearing to between Jan. 11 and Feb. 24 this year. Indonesia's lowland tropical forests, the richest in timber resources and biodiversity, are most at risk. FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. Palm oil is technically vegan, since it is completely plant-based and does not come from the body of animals. Indonesia's Palm Oil Association on Thursday questioned the CDP findings and said firms had adhered to domestic industry standards. That’s something the government must address to ensure truly sustainable palm oil production, he said. In fact, more than 80 percent of the world's palm oil grows in Malaysia and Indonesia (which are both located in Southeast Asia), according to Gro Intelligence. He said the government expected palm oil exports to decline in the coming years, allowing for greater domestic supply of the commodity, including for the biodiesel program. And sustainability audits will not reveal labor issues. Eco-Anxiety Is Inspiring People to Make Changes in Their Lives, What Is the Paris Agreement? An area of natural forest the size of 1,500 football fields has been cleared since January in an oil palm concession in Indonesia’s easternmost region of Papua by a company that ultimately supplies major traders and global brands. We aim to achieve this by using a robust engagement and evaluation process for measuring the progress of the major First Importers of palm oil into international markets. In 2018, it more than doubled the replanted area, to 33,842 hectares (83,625 acres), but this represented just 18% of its much higher target that year. “If all the focus is on biodiesel, then that’s a pity. Deforestation for palm oil has led countries to restrict imports of the edible oil, while labour concerns has seen the US block some Malaysian palm oil products. This process releases the greenhouse gas CO2 into the atmosphere, all the while destroying animal habitats. Here’s Everything You Need to Know, Yes, You Can Rescue a Hypoallergenic Dog — 6 Tips for Adopting, Not Shopping, Eco-Friendly Gifts to Keep Things Zero Waste This Holiday Season, What Is Organic Farming? on palm oil and deforestation of rainforests (2016/2222(INI)) The European Parliament, – having regard to the 2015-2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), – having regard to the Paris Agreement reached at the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), He also noted that sustainability standards are routinely flouted within the palm oil industry in Indonesia due to a lack of transparency and traceability. Additionally, numerous common label ingredients are derived from palm oil, but it's hard to tell based on the name. “Soy and oil palm are major deforestation drivers, with over half a million hectares of rainforest, peatland and savannahs destroyed each year for the expansion of these crops,” writes Nutreco in a report outlining the new sourcing policy . “That’s why there needs to be serious mitigation to hold back land expansion.”. It comes from the fleshy fruit of palm trees — specifically, oil palm trees, aka the Elaeis guineensis tree, according to the WWF. He said it would ultimately be better for the government to scale back its ambitious biodiesel target to give itself time to improve productivity and sustainability in the industry. According to the WWF, humans have clear-cut 17 percent of the Amazon rainforest over the past five decades. Sigit said there was a smear campaign underway against palm oil in the European Union and the U.S., two of Indonesia’s biggest export markets. If you try your best to shop ethically and sustainably, you've probably seen products that boast they are "palm oil-free" or claim that their palm oil was sustainably harvested. Here's Why It's So Important. Palm oil and deforestation Palm plantations are reputed to be a major factor of deforestation. It is impossible to know if some ingredients are palm oil-derived, other ingredients and products do not disclose their ingredients, and restaurants may cook with palm oil. “Move one step back, and then fix the management, raw material and production. Traction Asia’s Ricky said that while it’s true palm oil exports might decline or be capped, consumption of palm oil for food and consumer products is expected to keep growing, and thus the risk of a deficit is still there. While high yielding crops are generally pretty sustainable, that is not true in the case of palm oil. Almost all oil palm grows in areas that were once tropical moist forests, some of them quite recently. If the palm oil industry is not an industry you'd like to support, there are a few tricks that may help you avoid palm oil (for the most part). Check out this piece by Amnesty International to learn about labor in the palm oil industry, and why sustainable palm oil claims are not always legitimate. He also said deforestation fears were overblown, given that the palm oil used in biodiesel production must be certified sustainable, and that there’s a moratorium currently in place on issuing permits for new plantations. This post bulldoze areas of biodiverse rainforests to create palm oil as a crop is not the biggest driver,. Case of palm oil harvesting occurs on land that was previously used for crops. 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