Only Consumers can Halt Rainforest Destruction by Palm Oil


The nexus between politics and industry is unlikely to save virgin rainforests across the world, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia. Only well-informed consumers can, says Jocelyn C Zuckerman, author of the book ‘Planet Palm – How Palm Oil Ended up in Everything – and Endangered the World,’ in conversation with Benedict Paramanand, Editor of SustainabilityNext. The recent conversation is part of the SN Dialogue series.

The purpose of Jocelyn’s investigative book is to inform consumers of the harm they are causing the planet and show them how they are harming themselves too. A few consumer activist groups in Europe are forcing multinationals to abandon palm oil in most of the food products they make. If abandoning is not that easy soon, she suggests that MNCs could declare on the label that they use responsibly-produced palm oil.

Planet Palm compels readers to examine the connection between the choice they make at the grocery store and the planet under siege.

Jocelyn C Zuckerman

Consumers are still oblivious to the dangers palm oil is causing their health. And large MNC food companies are taking advantage of it. The reason for writing this book, she says, is to make people aware of the large-scale dangers of using palm oil.

Her book shows how forests are healthier if their stewardship is with indigenous and local communities, better than with the governments.

To Jocelyn, the good news is that the global community is beginning to understand the importance of forests to an extent that they never did before. So, she believes chances of reducing the rate of deforestation much better now.

Rich countries like the US and Europe are realizing that they can’t sit there and ask Brazilians (for example) to stop cutting down rain forests. There is a new awareness that “we are the consumers who are using most of the stuff that’s coming out of it.” The author is amused by the fact that India consumes palm oil the most but doesn’t show any remorse doing it. “People (consumers) need to be informed how they are responsible for vanishing of tropical rainforests, biodiversity, climate change.”

See the book review of Planet Palm – How Palm Oil Ended up in Everything – and Endangered the World here

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