Palm Oil Research

Palm Oil Research - What Are The Issues?

Palm Oil is derived from the fruit of the Palm Oil tree. The Palm fruit yields both Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil. Palm Oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit and is an edible oil used in food. Palm Kernel Oil is extracted from the seed of the fruit and is used in the manufacture of cosmetics. It is one of the least expensive oils to produce and is a high yielding crop. Unfortunately it’s cost effectiveness is paid for by many, many species of animals- some critically endangered.

  • Palm oil plantations are the main driver for deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. These two regions account for 85 percent of global production of Palm oil.

  • According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 3 football fields of rainforest are cleared each hour to make way for Palm oil production. This large scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings are showing that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and the Sumatran tiger less than 3 years.

  • Deforestation has also resulted in large volumes of greenhouse gas emissions being released into the atmosphere. This is particularly severe where deforestation occurs on peat soils, which release enormous amounts of carbon dioxide when cleared and drained. In some cases forest clearance has also displaced indigenous people, depriving them of their livelihoods and threatening their culture and way of life.













  • Over 50 Orangutan are killed every week due to deforestation, their homes are bulldozed, they have nowhere to go, nowhere to escape and are left starved.

  • It is not just the orangutan that are under severe threat to Palm oil plantations. Some of the other critically endangered species due to Palm oil deforestation include the Pygmy elephant, Sumatran Tiger, Asian Rhinoceros, Sun Bear, Clouded Leopard, Malayan Tapir, Probiscis Monkey, Gibbon and many more.

  • Palm oil and its derivatives are found in around 50 percent of all packaged foods on Australian shelves.Palm oil can be present in a wide variety of products including : baked goods, confectionary, shampoo, cosmetics, washing detergents and cosmetics.

Why Do We Use Palm Oil?

The main reason palm oil is used in the food industry is because it is the cheapest of vegetable oils. Personal care and cleaning products use palm oil to manufacture many ingredients due to its high fatty acid content which is required to manufacture emulsifiers and surfactants.

There are over 200 different names for palm oil so while you think you may be buying palm oil free products you in fact are not unless you are aware of all of the names it is disguised under!


Palm Oil Investigations

Is a not for profit organisation founded in 2013 to raise awareness and educate consumers on the impacts of unregulated palm oil production. This amazing organisation of volunteers work tirelessly to educate consumers on all of the different names that palm oil can be disguised as in food,cleaning and personal care products. They also find, investigate and expose products that hide palm oil as an ingredient in their products.

Palm Oil Investigations have developed a free barcode scanner app to use in the supermarket when shopping which will tell you if a product contains uncertified palm oil. They have also put together a list of food, personal care and cleaning  brands on their website which contain uncertified palm oil, sustainable palm oil as well as products which are palm oil free.  You can find a comprehensive list of A-Z alternate names for palm oil on their website which is so important because there are so many of them! As they are a not for profit organisation donations to Palm Oil Investigations are always needed to fund their research and ongoing projects which can be made directly on the website.

The Orangutan Project

The Orangutan Project was founded in 1998 by Leif Cocks and is a passionate group of people dedicated to saving the Orangutan  and protecting them from extinction. Another not for profit organisation The Orangutan Project has been able to achieve more for the species than any other Orangutan conservation group. This has been achieved by through Orangutan adoptions, regular donations and critical appeals. You can donate to support their work including critical habitat protection, Orangutan care centres and rehabilitation and release programs. Other projects funded by the Orangutan Project include forest habitat protection and regeneration, education, research and local community partnerships. For as little as $12 a month, you can help support an orphaned or injured orangutan through rehabilitation in one of their care centres.