In anticipation of a new report (“Collateral Damage: How the Bogus Campaign Against Palm Oil Harms the Poor”) scheduled for release at the UN climate change negotiations this week, Alan Oxley — Chairman of the pro-development NGO World Growth and observer at the Copenhagen conference — released the following statement:
“Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are currently running elaborate campaigns against palm oil, pressuring developing nations to reduce or even eliminate the land conversion necessary to cultivate this important commodity. Research shows most of the adverse claims made about palm oil are wrong, cannot be substantiated or severely exaggerated.
“The report demonstrates that poverty not palm oil is the major cause of deforestation and loss of orang-utan habitat. In fact, two-thirds of forest clearance is driven by low income people in poor countries simply searching for land for shelter and food production. Fortunately, we have the means to change that. Palm oil endows impoverished areas with the opportunity and ability to grow their economy and raise living standards, thereby reducing pressure on forests.
“Palm oil is the most environmentally sustainable vegetable oil available, using a mere one-tenth of the land required by other crops to produce the same quantity of oil, burning just a third of the amount of energy as input (e.g. fertilizers), and providing an effective sink to absorb CO2.
“Given its impressive ‘green’ credentials, sustainable palm oil production should be promoted as an integral role in our global strategy to reduce emission, not demonized.”
World Growth is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established with an educational and charitable mission to expand the education, information and other resources available to disadvantaged populations to improve their health and economic welfare. At World Growth, we embrace and celebrate the new age of globalization and the power of free trade to eradicate poverty and improve living conditions for people in the developing world. For more information on World Growth, visit www.worldgrowth.org.