Palm Oil

An interesting recent piece on Al Jazeera a while back explored the continuing impact of Palm Oil production on primates, long after the release of Greenpeace's controversial animation.

Palm Oil
is used in a great many products, and continues to be used despite people understanding the negative consequences of its production in many cases, although sustainable palm oil is available. It would be difficult to go for a day without consuming it, which connects with the theme of Everyday Geographies.

WWF have producd a Scorecard for you to check on the sustainability of your palm oil.

Some products have a certification related to the sourcing of this essential ingredient.

This book also came up again in my Twitter feed a few days ago.

Here's an excellent review from LSE blogs.

It introduces the term 'commodity fetishism' - one of the many different ways that 

Most of the palm oil in the market is now known as ‘refined, bleached and deodorised’ (RBD) palm oil. It is extracted from the African palm tree, Elaieis guineensis, which produces oil that is known for its deep red colour as well as its distinctive scent and flavour. These traits are deeply ingrained in the cultural memories of West Africans, a source of pride and filial nostalgia. The RBD variant emerged out of longstanding efforts to efface any of palm oil’s observable character to facilitate its various usages: in a range of products from candles to soap, inks to instant noodles, margarine to industry lubricants and, of course, cooking oil. That the RBD variant is so featureless probably contributed significantly to our collective ‘forgetting’ – a form of commodity fetishism – of cheap palm oil as being sourced through exploitation.


I've blogged about the book previously and also shared it over on the GeoLibrary website.