You can celebrate our country’s most frightening holiday without worrying about orangutans and deforestation. Palm oil, the Halloween candy ingredient which once triggered environmental concern, is quickly becoming a reason to celebrate. Many of the largest candy and snack manufacturers, such as Hershey’s, Nestle and Mars, are committed to using 100 percent sustainable palm oil. Approximately 80 percent of America’s sustainable palm oil is grown and produced in eco-friendly Malaysia. This environmentally progressive country may be putting some green in an otherwise orange-and-black holiday.
Malaysia strictly regulates oil palm plantations
In Malaysia, oil palm plantations are exclusively planted on designated legal agricultural lands. Many are former rubber plantations, which weren’t as environmentally friendly as oil palm. Unlike oilseed crops which need to be planted annually for a single harvest, oil palm trees grow for more than 25 years, producing abundant quantities of oil-rich fruit year-round. It’s the world’s most efficient oil crop. When it comes time to replant, burning is strictly prohibited.
Natural habitat is conserved and biodiversity encouraged
Malaysia has kept its 1992 Rio Earth Summit pledge to keep at least 50 percent of her land under forest cover. Malaysia’s pristine rainforests are home to more than 200 mammal species, 600 bird species and 250 reptile species. It’s known as one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems.
Malaysian wildlife is cherished and fiercely protected
Because oil palm plantations stand for decades, many animals live in and near the lush landscape. In Malaysia, concerted efforts have been made to enable these activities to co-exist. Corridors through the plantations help animals move freely, while jungle patrols monitor the area to deter poaching. Orangutan, sun bear and elephant sanctuaries delight and educate tourists and locals about these native animals.
The Malaysian oil palm industry is a true partner in conservation efforts
Many of these programs have been initiated and/or funded through the highly regarded Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund. Oil palm industry leaders work with the Malaysian government and non-profit environmental groups to ensure that Malaysian oil palm cultivation does not cause deforestation or harm to orangutans and other wildlife.