Following the forest fires in Indonesia that caused a haze in neighbouring countries, one environmental group in Singapore has proposed a way to reduce such deforestation incidents caused by the farming and production of palm oil.
The People’s Movement to Stop Haze (PM Haze) is a charity that aims to get local business to use only sustainable and ethically-produced palm oil, Reuters reported.
Several restaurants have reportedly committed to the cause.
Palm oil is the most dynamic and widely used edible oil in the world. It is used in cooking, food processing, as well as cleaning and industrial products.
Farming palm oil is linked to slash-and-burn practices which lead to deforestations.
The PM Haze initiative took inspiration from Chester city in Britain, the world’s first sustainable palm city.
“Switching cooking oil [to sustainable palm oil], you can do at a snap of your fingers. It’s easy. The challenge comes from palm oil derivatives that are in other edible and non-edible oils. It’s hard to find, and operationally that’s a big challenge for companies,” said Benjamin Tay, executive director of PM Haze in a report by Eco-Business.
The charity will begin to focus on restaurants and cooking oil first before they reach out to other businesses. They are getting technical support from palm oil company Wilmar as well.
“Singapore is at the epicenter of the global trade in palm oil and a hub for some of the biggest banks funding its expansion into tropical rainforests frontiers of Indonesia,” said Gemma Tillack, policy director at Rainforest Action Network.
“It is a country that has a huge role to play in tackling the haze crisis,” she added. -/TISG