Can boosting yields slow the global palm oil expansion and ease its environmental impacts?
- Over the past two decades, global palm oil production has increased rapidly to meet rising demand from the food, energy, and industrial sectors. Palm oil is a common ingredient in many food products including bread, cereal, peanut butter, chocolate, and margarine; in personal products such as shampoo, cosmetics, and cleaning products; and a source of biodiesel fuel. Unfortunately, the global palm oil expansion has also exacted a high price on the environment: In some areas, oil palm plantations have displaced forests and peatlands, resulting in biodiversity losses and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Finding a solution may be a challenge, but not impossible.