This video, at first, looks like a trailer for a pretty terrible crime-thriller.
A schlocky, over-the-top, and not very suspenseful crime-thriller at that.
But keep watching – because it’s the twist at the end that is actually really scary.
So, why is it scary that it’s hard to find products made with sustainable palm oil?
Because conventional palm oil production can destroy rainforests, harm animals and contribute to climate change.
Palm oil is an ingredient in perhaps half of what you buy at the supermarket each week. It’s in margarine and ice-cream and biscuits and cooking oil. In plasticisers, paint and surface coatings. In lipstick and shampoo and conditioner.
But to meet demand for the product, suppliers have been required to create palm oil plantations. And finding space for palm oil plantations, means destroying natural rainforests.
Eighty five percent of palm oil is grown in tropical countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea – and these are the areas where the most damage to natural ecosystems occurs. The United Nations have even acknowledged that palm oil plantations are the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia.
It gets worse. As these rainforests are being destroyed, so too are the natural homes of many endangered species. Around the world, the animals affected include the endangered Asian elephant and Bornean orangutan, and the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, rhinoceros and orangutan.
Animals are often killed during the ‘slash and burn’ method of clearing rainforest land.
This next video presents a pretty startling look at what palm oil production involves.
Combating this problem isn’t about an all or nothing approach. It’s about making sure that the way we produce our food isn’t hurting people, animals, or the environment.
And hopefully, one day, finding products that contain sustainable palm oil won’t be so hard. Or make you feel like you’re in the trailer for a schlocky, over-the-top, and not very suspenseful crime-thriller.
Click through to find out more about the WWF’s efforts regarding sustainable palm oil production.
Are you concerned by palm oil production?
You can follow Melissa Wellham on Twitter at @melissawellham.