Coconut oil could be worse than Palm Oil for environment

Coconut oil could threaten more species than palm oil.

Despite the issue of tropical forests being cut down for palm oil production being more widely known, a Borneo Futures and University of Exeter new report suggests coconut oil threatens more species per ton produced than palm or other vegetable oils.

The production of coconut oil affects 20 threatened plant and animal species per million tonnes of oil produced, whereas palm oil affects 3.8 species per million tonnes, olive oil 4.1 species and soybean 1.3 species, it found.

The high number of species affected by coconut oil is because it is mainly grown on tropical islands with rich biodiversity found the researchers.

This disparity in impact and perception highlights the difficulties of “conscientious consumption” and notes consumers lack objective guidance on the environmental impacts of crop production say researchers.

University of Exeter, Co-author Dr Jesse F. Abrams said: “Consumers, especially those striving to be more responsible in their consumption, rely heavily on information that they receive from the media, which is often supplied by those with vested interests.

“When making decisions about what we buy, we need to be aware of our cultural biases and examine the problem from a lens that is not only based on Western perspectives to avoid dangerous double standards.”

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