Peril of the bankers


So this week it has been reported that the Bank of England has backed the use of palm oil in its new £20 note after seeking an alternative to the tallow (animal fat) currently used in  new style notes.

I am not a vegan, but do think it is wrong that animal fat is used in products such as bank notes that lots of people have not choice about coming into contact with.  Whether their objection is ethically or religiously based it shouldn’t be a situation that has to based.

What I find even worse and more disturbing is how big corporations lack any corporate or social responsibility and think it is acceptable to construct products for UK consumers at the detriment to the eco-system and environment on the opposite side of our fragile planet.

deforestation

habitat degradation

climate change

animal cruelty

Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. Oil palms are originally from Western Africa, but can flourish wherever heat and rainfall are abundant.

Today, palm oil is grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, with 85% of all palm oil globally produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia; but most of the time not using sustainable measures.

Devastatingly the industry is linked to many major issues:

  • deforestation
  • habitat degradation
  • climate change
  • animal cruelty
  • indigenous rights abuses

The countries where palm oil is produced suffer as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production.

The consequences are alarming; as the large-scale deforestation required for the production of palm oil is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years

Tens of millions of tons of palm oil is produced annually, accounting for over 30% of the world’s vegetable oil production. This single vegetable oil is found in approximately 40-50% of household products in many developed countries,

 Palm oil can be present in a wide variety of products, including:

  • baked good
    •  confectionery
      • shampoo
        • cosmetics
          • cleaning agents
            • washing detergents
              • toothpaste.

A large proportion of palm oil expansion occurs at the expense of biodiversity and ecosystems in the countries it is produced. Currently, a third of all mammal species in Indonesia are considered to be critically endangered as a direct consequence of the palm oil industry rapidly encroaching on their habitat.

Over 90% of orangutan habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years – consequently the orang-utan could be extinct in the next 5-10 years.

The production of bank notes from palm oil came at the expense of human rights and the ecosystem of the tropical forest.   After suffering criticism for the use of animal products, who thought that substituting with palm oil would be welcomed or accepted?

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