By Michael Graham Richard, TreeHugger
Kudos to Regnskogfondet! An Example for the Whole World
As we’ve written a lot about before, growing palm oil in the way that the biggest producers of it grow it right now – Indonesia and Malaysia – has huge social and environmental costs. That’s why I was so pleased to read that a campaign led by Rainforest Foundation Norway has led to a massive reduction in palm oil consumption in the Scandinavian country. It’s an initiative that should be imitated around the world!
How They Did It
The most amazing thing with this story is that it didn’t take that long to get results. That should be encouraging to environmentalists everywhere:
“Last autumn, Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) launched a campaign with two aims; to reduce Norwegian palm oil consumption and to expose the link between deforestation and the production of this vegetable oil. The campaign, which was developed in collaboration with the organization Green Living, targeted all major food producers in Norway. [...]
Producers were asked to disclose details about their use of palm oil, and whether the palm oil was sourced from sustainable sources. Norwegian law obliges companies to provide such information, if it is considered relevant for environmental concerns. The results of the investigation were published in a “palm oil guide”, a unique web-based tool where consumers can check the occurrence of palm oil in Norwegian food products. Previously, this information was unavailable, and the use of palm oil concealed as “vegetable oil” or “vegetable fat”.
The campaign received extensive media coverage, resulting in increased consumer awareness. Norwegian food producers responded rapidly, significantly reducing their use of palm oil. Eight major producers have cut their consumption with some 9,600 tons – a reduction of nearly two thirds of the total consumption of 15,000 tons. In 2011 every Norwegian inadvertently consumed three kilos of palm oil through food products. From now on they will only consume one kilo per year.” (source)
That’s a 64% total reduction in palm oil use in Norway. In about a year!
This shows how educating the public and getting transparency from producers so that people can know what they buy can make a big difference.