When something is as widely used as palm oil, you want to make sure it’s sustainably produced! And palm oil is everywhere! It’s found in everything from chocolate and ice cream to bread and microwave popcorn. Here are 10 reasons why most of the palm oil used in the United States is sourced from Malaysia and nowhere else.
- Oil palm crops are the highest yielding of edible oils. It takes 10 times more land to produce the same amount of canola oil or soybean oil. This makes it the most land-efficient oil crop. Research is also underway to improve this already astonishing yield, enabling Malaysia to increase production without additional demands on land.
- Malaysia has a mandatory sustainable certification program: The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil certification program (MSPO) sets standards that address the environmental, social and economic aspects of palm oil production. Malaysian oil palm trees are grown exclusively on legal agricultural lands in compliance with environmentally friendly Good Agricultural Practices.
- Deforestation avoidance: Oil palm is not the cause of deforestation. It contributes to “deforestation avoidance.” In Malaysia, the palm industry is highly regulated. Oil palm trees are only grown on designated land. Fifty percent of Malaysia is made up of land that won’t ever be developed. There is no debate that palm oil cultivation has been linked to deforestation. That said, responsible palm oil growers – those who produce certified sustainable palm oil – must abide by standards that prohibit clearing primary forests for palm plantations.
- Zero waste: The Malaysian palm oil industry strives to achieve zero waste by using its biomass and palm oil mill effluent as renewable energy.
- Wildlife conservation fund: The Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund supports biodiversity conservation in Malaysia. The country is the world’s leader in orangutan conservation.
- Balanced fatty acid: Palm oil has a healthy balance of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, making it a great replacement for partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats).
- Vitamin E tocotrienols: Palm oil is rich in hard-to-find vitamin E tocotrienols, which have been shown to support brain, heart and skin health.
- Neutral cholesterol: Palm oil has a neutral effect on blood cholesterol, similar to olive oil and better than common cooking oil blends. A recent diet and population study revealed that when healthy adults ate a diet rich in palm oil, it did not increase their markers for heart disease risk factors.
- Certified sustainable: Palm oil is the world’s first certified sustainable vegetable oil.
- 820 million oil palms: In Malaysia, oil palm plantations are a net carbon sink, with more than 820 million oil palms planted. Malaysia’s oil palm plantations do not contribute to greenhouse gasses. In fact, they help to mitigate climate change!
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