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Will Big Companies Support Ban on Palm Oil?

by Miranda Marquit - Friday, 16 November 2007

Will Greenpeace cripple the palm oil industry?

Greenpeace hopes that it can draw attention to the damage palm oil plantations cause to the environment by preventing a ship carrying palm oil from leaving Indonesia (Indonesia's place in the top three carbon emitting countries comes from the process that leads to palm oil plantations). And while some are hailing palm oil as an alternative to coal and crude oil, the fact remains that the palm oil plantations can be damaging to the environment. Palm oil is also used in a great many goods and foods. Voice of America reports on the Greenpeace beef against palm oil plantations:

"Huge multinational companies like Unilever (UL), Proctor and Gamble (PG), and Nestle (NESM.F) are buying from companies where the palm oil in that supply chain is coming from forest and peatland destruction. What we are asking big companies to do is to agree to support a moratorium on palm oil coming from forest destruction and peatland destruction."

Greenpeace's actions highlight something else: the availability of more information concerning the origins of the products we use. With the Internet it is possible to research which companies use items such as palm oil that may do damage to the environment, but will Greenpeace's actions actually cause change?

If the stock prices of companies that use palm oil go down (and I doubt they will), it will probably be due to publicity and perhaps a temporary spike in palm oil prices because of the blockage (the ship has 30,000 tons of palm oil). But I doubt any such effects will be long lasting.

Disclosure: I do not own stock in any of the companies listed above, although it does turn out that I use products from all of these companies.

Source - Miranda Marquit

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