United Nations: Boycotting palm oil is no solution

Posted on: November 22, 2016

This month a United Nations Report calls for the conservation community to collaborate more closely with the palm oil industry to implement a global sustainable strategy to save the great apes and their fragile ecosystems. The report called 'Palm Oil Paradox: Sustainable Solutions to Save the Great Apes' is the result of a two-year study of palm oil development in Southeast Asia, and the steps required to ensure that the loss of biodiversity that occurred in that region is not repeated as the crop expands into Africa.

Palm Oil Paradox was produced by UN Environment through the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), the alliance of 105 national governments, conservation organizations, research institutions, UN agencies and private companies committed to ensuring the long-term survival of great apes and their habitat. The report was released at the 14th Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) meeting in Bangkok.

Sustainable palm oil
Among the report's key recommendations are the placement of "certified" sustainable oil palm plantations close to great ape habitats in order to minimize irresponsible production, and the designation of "no-go" zones set aside for priority ape populations.

The way forward
"This report recognizes that palm oil is here to stay and the hardline boycotts are unlikely to achieve success," said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. "Right now, all of the chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans in the world are classified as endangered or critically endangered, so we need to find a way to work constructively with a commodity that can either hasten extinction or offer a way forward. Palm Oil Paradox makes it clear that finding common ground with oil palm developers makes sense."

Please read the full article on the website of the United Nations Environment Programme here. For more information, please visit www.un-grasp.org.