This leads to the fact that the locals have no choice but to become plantation workers as the practice systematically destroys the land that they so depend on. In addition to this, the communities are faced with poor and degrading working conditions, and they often earn barely enough income to survive and support their families. Instead of being able to sustain themselves, indigenous communities become reliant on the success of the palm oil industry for their income and survival, leaving these villagers incredibly vulnerable to the world market price of palm oil which they have no control over.
Sustainable palm oil
There are some sustainable practices put in place where various stakeholders including WWF and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) , are in close collaboration and have set their aim to produce palm oil without causing deforestation and harm to people, but there are far more that are not, so there is a lot still that can be done.
Ways you can help in your everyday routine:
There are some items we cannot avoid using on a daily basis, but there are others which we can purchase instead that are non-conflict palm oil products. Help reduce the demand!
1. Swapping: Check the ingredients of products before you add them to your shopping basket; alternatives generally contain Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) or look for alternative ingredients to palm oil that don't have negative environmental and social implications. This sounds long-winded but once one shopping basket has been filled with non-conflict palm oil products, it will be easy to repeat next time you shop! There are logos below to help you what to look out for on certain products (here's WWF's list of products with palm oil).
2. Cut down and DIY: Reduce your consumption of these products by trying to make your own. This will help to remove conflict Palm Oil and other unsustainable vegetable oils from the shelves, in turn making companies act.
For other ideas to help such as using your voice or donating, check out Say No To Palm Oil.
I am an intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO. Frontier has over 300 dedicated conservation and community development projects as well as plenty of inspiring www.frontier.ac.uk/Volunteer/Volunteer.aspx?utm_source=TheDodo&utm_medium=gapyearblog&utm_campaign=BlogArticle">gap year ideas to help make your time out meaningful. For more information on all the opportunities available please visit www.frontier.ac.uk. Check out Frontier's blog 'Into the Wild' where you can read more articles like this! Get more from us on social media with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. See more from volunteers on YouTube, Flickr and Instagram #FrontierVolunteer.