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Fresh fruit bunches harvested in an Ecuadorian farm.

In a recent article the oil palm was presented as a Shiva of the modern consumer economy, “a great creator and a great destroyer”. The article explains how oil palm created and continues to create wellbeing for millions of people by contributing to developing local economies and eradicating poverty. But, as we know, the fast development of the sector has turned the oil palm into a destroyer as well, encroaching into natural ecosystems.

The article explores one way to reset our relationship with the oil palm, finding an approach to produce more oil on less land. Important, considering the projected…


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Smallholder palm plantation in Ecuador

Last month I was invited to do two presentations at my son’s school. The theme was “Sustainable Development”, with a focus on how we can create positive impact working from new business and collaboration models. The goal: to inspire these 17-year-old students as they choose the next step in their education and motivate them to become leaders of change in the near future.

While preparing for my sessions I realized how the subject palm oil would spur some interesting debates. This generation is aware of the destruction palm oil causes in rainforests and wildlife habitats, yet unaware of the role…


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Ricardo Mejía and his daughter Evelyn, owners of Estefania farm

David Attenborough’s recent documentary “A Life on Our Planet” offers the sobering view of the decline of our planet during his generation’s lifetime. The burden of conventional agriculture on nature and its diversity of species is astounding.

Yet, the documentary also presents solutions for reversing agricultural damage by creating more diverse landscapes and working with nature as “our biggest ally and inspiration”. A new generation of farmers is taking the lead.

Nutritionist and farmer During my trip to Ecuador earlier this month, to meet with our teams and talk to Palm Done Right farmers, I met with Ricardo Mejía and…


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A Gem Anole strolling the Mindo Cloudforest in Ecuador

Are we able to fully grasp the beauty and importance of all wildlife, including the tiniest, sometimes invisible creatures that are crucial for our living planet? When we think of wildlife often images of mammals and colorful birds come to mind, like the iconic orangutan. Amphibians and reptiles are usually not the first creatures we think of. Yet, they can be strikingly beautiful in color and extraordinary in shape. And they are important indicators of a healthy ecosystem.

The agricultural burden Agricultural development and nature often clash. Deforestation and wildlife habitat destruction continue to have a negative impact on biodiversity…


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Freshly harvested palm fruit

Is there such a thing as sustainable palm oil? And if so, what does it look like? This was the central question for a podcast interview I had with Robin Hicks, deputy editor of Eco-Business, a Singapore based news platform on sustainable development. Recent attention for a scientific paper in which co-author Roberto Gatti argues that sustainable palm oil doesn’t exist, and that the term is misleading for consumers, spurred another debate about the reality of sustainable palm oil.

What sustainable palm oil looks like Sustainable palm oil is deforestation-free, wildlife friendly, fair & social. It means we protect forests…


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Daniel Andrade, his wife Karla and two of his four children.

The Covid pandemic is still affecting all of us. Like many communities around the world, the farming communities in Ecuador have also been severely impacted. Many families are struggling to make ends meet and children have been deprived of going to school, losing out on their education and the daily connection with their friends. Yet, during this difficult time we have also seen beautiful initiatives and stories of unity. One such story comes from Esmeraldas Province, one of the Palm Done Right palm growing regions in Ecuador.

Meet Daniel Andrade, a man with a never-ending commitment to contribute to his…


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Organic Oil Palm Cultivation in Sierra Leone, Africa

You can’t imagine how often I hear: ‘Do you work in palm oil?! Isn’t that the worst thing?’
I always explain why that isn’t the case. How palm oil, produced right, brings many benefits for people and the environment. Yet, there continues to be discord when we talk about palm oil. Stepping into the world of palm oil five years ago, it was that friction that got me intrigued.

It was coffee, cocoa and tea that dominated my professional life before palm oil got me hooked. I still see myself strolling through vast stretches of tea fields in India, almost…


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Beauty editor Karen van Ede wrote an excellent article about palm oil in cosmetics for Vogue Nederland. Looking for answers whether palm oil can be produced in a responsible manner, she explores alternatives when buying cosmetics. A clear and nuanced piece, including concrete actions that we, as consumers, can take.

Translation from Dutch.

Author: Karen van Ede

Palm oil is the perfect substitute for the animal fats that are used to make salves, shampoos and lip balms so creamy. Palm oil is vegan, has no scent or taste, produces a smooth texture in cosmetics, prevents drying out of a product…


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Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Palm oil remains a subject that triggers emotions, that much is clear to see. But when we talk about palm oil and the challenges we face — not only in producing it sustainably but also marketing it transparently — we find anything but clarity. Why is that? Turns out there are risks and benefits to brand transparency. Let’s explore.

Downside to transparency Unfortunately, hiding the use of palm oil often pays off. During my time working for the social NGO Oxfam, I interacted with Oriflame, producer of cosmetics and personal care products. They were sourcing sustainable certified palm oil and…


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Photo by Mehrad Vosoughi from Pexels

If you want to believe the media, you better stay away from palm oil. But when you dig a little deeper, you will learn that there is also good palm oil brands can use. Palm oil that is produced with respect for nature, people and animals. But how will you know that soap, peanut butter and snack brands are using this good palm oil? To make it easy for you I listed my five favorites. Five great brands that consciously choose to only use organic, sustainable and fair-trade palm oil.

Dr. Bronner’s The majority of soap sold in your grocery…

Monique van Wijnbergen

Palm Done Right Spokesperson | Organic, Deforestion- Free, Wildlife Friendly, Fair & Social Palm Oil | Natural Habitats | www.palmdoneright.com

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