InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA -The world may misunderstand that the social and environment impact from palm oil industrial development could be solved if the companies stop using palm oil in their products by substituting with other kinds of vegetable oil. But according to RSPO, it is not easy to do because of some reasons.
The first is, by taking palm oil out of the market, the demands would substitute to other kinds of vegetable oil. This would increase the sustainability issues because, if palm oil is compared to other kinds of vegetable oil, such as, soybean, sunflower, or rapeseed, palm oil has higher productivity per hectare (4-10 times more productive) than others. So it might be potential to substitute the primer forest to be agricultural areas if the consumers substitute palm oil to other kinds of vegetable oil.
The second is that in the producer countries, millions smallholders and their family work in palm oil sector. Palm oil plays its important role to conquer the poverty in many regions. In Indonesia and Malaysia, 4.5 million men depend on palm oil production. Stopping palm oil to produce could mean that the people could not earn their family anymore.
The third is that it is not worth substituting palm oil by other kinds of vegetable oil because palm oil has unique characteristic as food material. The product using other kinds of vegetable oil would be in different texture and different taste from palm oil.
For the sustainability reason, it is better for the consumers to substitute other kinds of vegetable oil to be palm oil just like WWF Germany reported, “Searching the Alternative”.
In the report, substituting palm oil by other kinds of vegetable oil that grow in other tropical climate would not get the goal. Soybean and coconut oil grow in the same area or they have the same sensitivity ecologically. (T2)
This article once published in InfoSAWIT, Juni 2018