Claim- A World Bank education policy analyst has claimed in The Diplomat that the blame for last year’s haze crisis on global “rapacious palm oil companies” and demand for “dirty palm oil”.

Truth

The article in The Diplomat is replete with untruths and previously-debunked claims.  The most egregious is the attempt to blame palm oil. It is a lazy conclusion, that ignores clear evidence to the contrary.

It is generally understood by forest and environment experts in the field that the causes of the fires are complex. However, even a basic look at the available satellite data for Sumatra – the … Read More

Claim- ‘Kids Cut Conflict Palm Oil’ is a group of school children claiming that palm oil is harming wildlife and causing broader environmental problems in Southeast Asia.

Truth:

This group of well-meaning schoolchildren is being ruthlessly exploited by hidden NGOs with an aggressive anti-palm oil agenda. It is sad to see the lengths that the NGOs will go: using Western expat kids as props to attack small farmers of palm oil.

The facts: Millions of children from small farmer families across less wealthy parts of Indonesia and Malaysia – have had their lives transformed by oil palmRead More

Claim- New Yorker Endorses #FakeNews!: A recent article in the New Yorker implied in no uncertain terms that there is a link between palm oil and violence.

Truth:

Here are the facts. First, this is not a journalistic article. It is environmental propaganda. The New Yorker actually admits this. In very small print at the foot of the article, it is acknowledged that the piece is supported by FERN, a radical Green NGO that consistently makes false claims.

The FERN-supported New Yorker piece attempts to link violence with oil palm plantations in different parts of … Read More

Claim- A recent documentary on palm oil plantations in Africa claims that recreating an experiment undertaken at a Swedish University proves that palm oil is unhealthy.

Truth:

The documentary is deliberately misleading. The experiment in question was not about palm oil; but rather about saturated fats in general . Nutritionists pointed out in follow-up articles that saturated fat intake should not be blamed on palm oil – the biggest source of saturated fats are dairy and meat products.

The paradigm on saturated fats is rapidly changing, as more and more research shows that the old, outdated … Read More

Claim- Jenny Gray, Chief Executive of Zoos Victoria in Australia, claims that orang-utan numbers are declining by around 1,000 individuals annually – and that palm oil labelling can stop this. Is this true?

Truth

The original claim that orang-utans are declining by 1,000 per year was first published in early 2001 by Dutch researcher Carl van Schaik. The research referred to the specific years of 1998 and 1999 – almost 20 years ago – and specifically to the Sumatran sub-species of orangutan. However, this ancient statistic has not survived the test of time. According to modern, more recent estimates, the population of Sumatran … Read More

Claim- British royal family member Prince Harry says that products containing palm oil should be labelled ‘like cigarettes’.

Truth

That’s a pretty incredulous comment to make for a product that lifts millions out of poverty and provides food to more than 2 billion annually. However, not surprising for someone who’s never worked a day in his life let alone was concerned about putting food on the table for his family. Here are the uncomfortable facts, Prince Harry.

As has been indicated previously on this blog and in research … Read More

Claim- Member of the European Parliament, Katerina Konecna, of the far-left GUE Group, claims in a draft European Parliament report that certification schemes such as “RSPO, ISPO, MPOCC” should be able to “guarantee that the palm oil certified by them … enables small-scale palm oil cultivators to be included in the certification system and ensures that they receive their fair share of profits.” (Paragraph 8)

Truth

This statement is once again completely absurd, and contradictory. MEP Konecna is calling for greater restrictions on the imports of palm oil, requiring significant financial resources and regulatory compliance from small farmers in Africa and Asia who cannot afford it. This will cripple small farmers of oil palm.

Yet at the same time, her draft report calls on certification schemes such as RSPO to lower their barriers for smallholders … Read More

Claim- Member of the European Parliament, Katerina Konecna, of the far-left GUE Group, claims in a draft European Parliament report that she is “fully aware of how complex the issue of palm oil is and notes the need to operate on the basis of the collective responsibility of many actors … [including] countries in which palm oil is cultivated and indigenous people, private businesses, or NGOs” (Paragraph 1)

Truth

MEP Konecna has very little understanding of palm oil. Her draft report calls for import duties on palm oil and other unprecedented hostile acts that would harm 3 million small farmers worldwide.

The MEP does not understand that around 35 per cent of the world’s oil palm area is run by small farmers.  There are more than three million small farmers cultivating oil palm around the world. In … Read More

Claim- Member of the European Parliament, Katerina Konecna, of the far-left GUE Group, claims in a draft European Parliament report that: “precious tropical ecosystems, which cover a mere 7% of the Earth’s surface, are under increasing pressure from deforestation and the establishment of palm oil plantations.” (Paragraph E)

Truth

This is an absurd statement. The European Commission’s own research has pointed out that the largest threats from agriculture for forests are beef, soybean and maize. This is backed up by research from the Centre for Global Development and the New York Declaration on Forests which points out that tropical deforestation from beef is around nine times higher than palm oil. Deforestation from soybean is around twice that of … Read More

Claim- Member of the European Parliament, Katerina Konecna, of the far-left GUE Group, claims in a draft European Parliament report that: “cultivation of palm oil over the last 20 years has been the cause of 20% of all deforestation.” (Paragraph D)

Truth

There is no substance to this claim whatsoever. The only studies that have looked at the contribution of palm oil to global deforestation refute this claim. According to the EU’s own research, total deforestation in the period from 1990 to 2008 that could be attributed to a cause was 182Mha. Palm oil’s contribution to this was 6Mha — around 3 per cent. Even then, when compared to other … Read More

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