Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

The Real Cost of Earth Balance June 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 7:24 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Deb over at Invisible Voices wrote recently about what really goes into those tubs of Earth Balance margarine that many of us vegans swear by. Here’s what a representative from Rainforest Action Network told her:

If killing orangutans were the only problem that existed with palm oil [used in Earth Balance], then maybe Earth Balance could get off the hook. But it simply is not. Every where that palm is grown — very much including Peninsular Malaysia — involves clear cutting rainforest and planting massive monoculture plantations — with serious consequences for both endangered species (the tapir lives in Peninsular Malaysia.. does it deserve to go extinct?) and the climate. It also involves displacing communities off their traditionally owned land, which regularly occurs in Peninsular Malaysia. Particularly in Peninsular Malaysia, migrant workers from Indonesia and India are forced into modern day slavery, forced to work for minuscule wages while paying back the companies for their their transportation from their country of origin. It’s a wreck. (emphasis mine)

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54 Responses to “The Real Cost of Earth Balance”

  1. Valid point.

    However, 1) not every vegan uses Earth Balance because there are other options, 2) the harm caused by butter is direct whereas the harm caused by palm oil is indirect, 3) I bet vegans, in general, use less margarine and other oils overall than nonvegans, in general, because vegans tend to be more concerned with their nutrition and health, 4) damage vegans cause the environment and endangered animals through purchases of products like earth Balance can be somewhat offset by the reduction in overall damage to the environment and endangered animals by not eating animals.

  2. johanna Says:

    1) Yes, this is why I said “many vegans” & not “all vegans.” If you’ve got a source for margarine that has the same qualities as Earth Balance (trans fat free, etc.) & that does not participate in this kind of stuff, I am sure lots of people would be interested in hearing details.
    2) I am sure the indirectness of the harm is a real comfort to, say, the workers being exploited & the orangutans.
    3) I have no way of knowing, obviously, but given the ability to be a junk food vegan (& the trendiness of things like vegan cupcakes lately), I am not so sure this is a given.
    4) I suppose for some values of “somewhat.”

    I’m not sure what your list was intended for… Yay, go ahead & eat Earth Balance, because as vegans we’re doing better anyway? Obviously pretty much everything we eat has a price & a tradeoff, & obviously a vegan diet has a lot going for it in terms of morals & environment, but to me the “smug vegan” reasoning falls a little flat here.

  3. Ico Says:

    Oh dear… I have been using Earth Balance as a butter substitute in my cooking for years, never knew about the palm oil. I guess it’s time to go look for something else.

    I wonder, if enough vegans write to the makers of Earth Balance, would they change the formula? It’s not like they have a huge market.

  4. This is really terrible. While I don’t use a ton of EB at home, my baking job at a vegetarian/vegan cafe relies on a lot of that stuff. I wonder if it’s better to just use the cheap, hydrogenated crap, like Nucoa? Even though it causes hardening of the arteries, at least that is by choice, and doesn’t rely on slave labor and rainforest destruction.

  5. [...] 22, 2008 I was just reading this on Vegans of Color, and was wondering about alternatives to Earth Balance. I’m really not [...]

  6. coathangrrr Says:

    To what extent do other margarines use palm oil?

    It seems to be a standard ingredient, does Earth Balance use only palm? Do the ingredients in other margarines have negative effects on the environment and people? How much greater or less of an effect on the environment does palm oil have on the environment and people than butter?

    I feel like this raises a lot of questions to which I don’t have any answers.

    I think one can find parallels in the use of petroleum based animal substitutes for things like glue or shoe materials.

  7. I’m sorry I came across as “the smug vegan.” That wasn’t my intention.

    I was only making a point for the nonvegans who read this blog. Your post, taken by itself out of context of this blog and other things you say, sounds more like a criticism of veganism than a call for vegans to include humans in their definition of animals.

  8. johanna Says:

    Ico — I was wondering the same thing, about writing letters… it’s true, their market can’t be all that massive!

    destinyskitchen & coathangrrr — I don’t know what’s involved w/making stuff like Nucoa (? I don’t know the brand, but I assume it’s similar to the cheap trans-fat-loaded margarine you can get in huge tubs at my local supermarket). I’d assume there’s no palm oil in it, because I remember seeing (on the kind I used to buy) that they had hydrogenated vegetable oil… which I’d imagine is way cheaper than palm oil. But I don’t know enough about the other kinds of oil that might be there & what its production might entail.

    Elaine — Hm. Well, a lot of stuff on this blog criticizes veganism/vegans, & deliberately so. My point was more to link the issues Deb raised w/Earth Balance (succinctly put in the quote from RAN) w/the recent discussions on this blog wrt intersectionality & the impacts of veganism on human rights–ie. that veganism is not de facto cruelty free if human as well as nonhuman rights are taken into consideration. You’re right that a non-vegan could possibly take my post to be criticizing veganism, but I’d imagine that would be true for most of what gets put on this blog. The perils of not summing up my viewpoints on veganism & putting disclaimers within every post, I guess…

  9. Dani Says:

    Elaine, I don’t see johanna’s post as a criticism of veganism as such, but rather as posing a problem that is both real and pervasive. Many of us vegans do indeed swear by Earth Balance. I used Nucoa for years but switched to Earth Balance because of all the hype about nonhydrogenated oils being so wonderful. So I’m grateful has johanna made me more aware.

    In saying not all vegans use Earth Balance, or that we use less, it sounds to me like you’re dismissing the problem. Yet, Earth Balance is recommend in many books oriented to vegans:

    “Our favorite brand is Earth Balance.” — Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, Veganomicon (also recommended in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

    “Instead of butter, try Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread or Soy Garden Natural Buttery Spread, both made from nonhydrogenated oils.” — Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman, Skinny Bitch

    “An example [of vegan margarine] is Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread.” — Carol J. Adams, Help! My Child Stopped Eating Meat!

    “An example of vegan margarine available at the time of this publication is Earth Balance, made for cooking and baking or use as a spread.” — Lee Hall and Priscilla Feral, Dining With Friends

    “The flavor is fantastic, and you can use Earth Balance just as you would dairy-based butter.” — Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, The Joy of Vegan Baking

    And if you did a survey of vegan oriented food blogs you’d find Earth Balance recommended over and over again. I only point this out because you make it sound like there isn’t really much to be concerned about.

    Also, I disagree with calling the harm caused by palm oil “indirect.” I don’t see how, for the communities of indigenous humans and other animals living in the Peninsular Malaysia, their exploitation is any less direct or real than that of cows who are used to produce butter. There’s a direct connection in both cases, because we wouldn’t get either Earth Balance or the butter without the harm done to others.

    And I think the whole “offset” concept is a cop-out that allows us a way of rationalizing privilege. To me it’s like saying, “It’s OK that I benefit from the devastation of indigenous communities in Malaysia, because I’m not benefiting as much in general terms from the devastation of other areas as I would if I ate animal products.”

  10. pattricejones Says:

    MY first thought: Oh, no! (Deep sigh.) Back to Soy Garden.

    Then: But soy plantations aren’t so great either.

    Finally: Silent resolve to continue to cut down on usage of all processed foods from elsewhere.

  11. emfole Says:

    Hey, love this site- I am grateful that ya’ll are combining institutionalized oppressions as the collective concern that they are.

    Thanks for the info on palm oil. I will spread the word.

  12. I think I just heard my boyfriend’s head explode. He lives on the stuff. And I just slathered a ton of it on Trader Joe’s bread this weekend and that is some good eats. Ugh.

    I agree with pattrice’s point. And Dani, thanks for pointing out all the vegan books and cookbooks that sing the praises of EB. It’s one of those beloeved vegan products so any problems with how its sourced needs to be addressed. Thanks for posting this, Johanna.

    The problem isn’t Earth Balance per se. It’s processed foods from big companies–vegan or not. It can be very hard to avoid buying them, considering the fact that most of us must buy our food. I mean, even produce can come from big companies and not all of us know how to/can garden or live near/can afford to shop at the lovely farmer’s market.

  13. Deb Says:

    Johanna, thanks for linking in my post! :)

    As to the question on soy oil: just as bad.

    As to any other options, I did find a spectrum spread, which looks okay on their website, and which I hear works well in cooking, but not so well on toast. (might have changed since mary last gave it a try, so it is worth trying again, imo.)

    I had a commenter mention a “sustainable” palm oil plantation in columbia, and when asked she said it was via daabon, which spectrum also talks about on their website. I haven’t really looked into it much so far, but it does sound like more of a cooperative venture (i.e. small farmers selling to daabon and not getting reamed), but I haven’t had a chance to research deeper.

    I think that writing letters to Earth Balance is a fantastic idea, and I’m definitely going to do that. They were responsive when I wrote them a year and a half ago (at least in the sense of responding to my email and justifying why they use palm oil), so it does seem like they would at the very least take note of people writing in on the topic. RAN is likely to write them sometime after July 1 (though I’m assuming they write to all the companies of products that get registered on their site, I could be wrong about that), which would add to the pressure.

    But overall I’ve come to the same conclusion as pattrice – the more we can stay away from processed stuff, the better, the more sustainable, and in the end the healthier as well.

    And johanna, I don’t think your point can ever be made often enough, when you said “veganism is not de facto cruelty free if human as well as nonhuman rights are taken into consideration” – sometimes I think we, as vegans, end up in a rut thinking that veganism is the end of the road, that we can now put up our feet and relax.

  14. Sara Says:

    Raising consciousness at the expense of me blissfully enjoying my (insert vegan product here) is essential. Great post – thanks for sharing.

  15. tuimeltje Says:

    Thanks for posting this. I was vaguely aware of the evils behind palm oil, though not enough to keep it in mind while shopping. EB is not available here (I live in the Netherlands), but there are similar products.

    With learning these kinds of things I just want to avoid prepared foods more and more, even though that’s still in no way a guarantuee for things to be properly vegan, either. Part of me feels like there’s simply no way of doing it ethically the way I would like to do it, which is really frustrating and makes me just want to ignore it all, which isn’t exactly a solution either.

    I checked the margarine I have at home for it, but it refuses to specify which plant oils it uses exactly, so that’s no use. Alpro soya does specify, and mentions somehing palm, which is disppointing. Now I’m considering asking them about the source, since they love to clearly show their socially responsible use of soya, but I have a good mind to just stop buying the stuff. I rarely use it anyway.
    Then again, it’s useful to know just in case I would like to use it for something specific.

    • Anonymous Says:

      I know how you feel! It seems like being educated is often a burden. It seems we can do no right unless we just go live in the woods and eat only what we grow. Perhaps that’s the only way to not cause harm!!!

  16. [...] Today kind of sucks on the vegan product front. First I read some disconcerting stuff about palm oil and Earth Balance (see also this post), and while we don’t actually get Earth Balance here, palm oil seems to [...]

  17. Julia Says:

    Soy Garden is the same thing as Earth Balance. They are owned by the same people and have the same ingrediants. Its just a marketing thing where they market it under two different names.

  18. Dave Says:

    Soy Garden is just a bit different – its canola-free.

  19. Beckie Says:

    So what do we use instead?

  20. noemi Says:

    aside from doing a little investigative work and answering the question for yourself, I think Pattrice had a pretty good idea:
    “Silent resolve to continue to cut down on usage of all processed foods from elsewhere.”

  21. Josh Says:

    I came to this site doing a random internet search– trying to find out where I could get a vegan butter substitute in the country I’m living. In my opinion it was a pretty lousy original post. The whole mindset of “if we complain about the problem, it will fix itself” has to go.

    Do you post this JUST to stress people out? Ever think of saying “instead of Earth Balance, try ~~~”?? You could have, at the very least, said “instead of butter, use vegetable oil. You can substitute 1/3 cup of oil for one stick (1/2 cup) of butter.”

    Keep in mind that I might be taking this post out of context. Still, Elaine knew that people would. And all you did was criticize her.

    But still, if people like you (OP) in the vegan movement “converted” to helpful people, there would be a lot more vegans, because people would be inspired, not annoyed.

  22. johanna Says:

    Josh — I posted this to highlight the links between veganism & other forms of oppression, which, as you might notice if you read the rest of the blog, is a common theme here. I don’t think veganism is the answer to everything, & I don’t think buying solely vegan products means that we are thus free from thinking about ethics. We don’t get a gold star just for being vegan. Veganism is not immune from criticism.

    I agree w/Noemi — you could try doing your own research & trying things out. This is not a cooking blog. And the point is that there aren’t easy substitutes for things like Earth Balance. Perhaps, like other commenters have pointed out, this could be a nudge away from processed food products in general.

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that we think complaining will just take care of a problem by itself. Did you miss all the discussion about possible solutions (other products, writing to companies, etc.) here?

  23. [...] Vegans of Color’s post about Earth Balance has given me the courage to post this journal entry about the state of the vegan culinary universe at this particular moment in time: [...]

  24. lagusta Says:

    Heya everyone!
    COCONUT OIL! Good old minimally processed organic earth friendly coconut oil is what to use instead. I have an essay about using it at http://lagustasluscious.com/coconut.html, and I also just posted a blog post inspired by this post- http://lagusta.wordpress.com/2008/07/02/of-earth-balance-and-the-state-of-veganism-in-2008/

    Thanks as usual Johanna, for starting a great discussion!

  25. emcegg Says:

    There’s also palm oil grown organically in Brazil. The harvester and manufacturer adhere to highly detailed sustainable harvesting protocols with oversight from state run agricultural programs and with the assistance of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil. I just found this information, so I don’t know all the details, but it would be helpful to find out where EB sources their oil.

  26. Emily Says:

    The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) did a radio documentary recently about how palm plantations are also driving pigmy elephants in Java to extinction.

    I had a friend who replaced all of her butter in baking with nut butters (peanut butter, etc.). Of course, then everything tastes like nuts.

  27. Balamuthia Says:

    “Ingredients: Expeller-pressed natural oil blend (soy, palm and olive)”

    Soy Garden has palm oil in it, as does their olive oil spread.

    I’ll be writing a letter.

  28. Qian Robin Says:

    Dear consumers, you cannot change the world with your dollars. Your most effective tool is your voice. If all the vegans who replied here wrote EarthBalance demanding a sustainable source of vegetable oil, we would direct a positive effect.

    You can contact them here: http://www.earthbalance.net/customer.html

  29. Deb Says:

    emcegg, organic isn’t always the answer. However Daabon is a company that is working on both the social and environmental aspects of palm oil, sourced from Columbia. I don’t know if they’re as good as they sound, but they might be an option.

    Earth Balance, as of 11/06, sourced their palm oil from Malaysia. If you follow the link (to my blog as it happens) that johanna posted in the original post, you’ll see the response I got from EB a year and a half ago. I have no idea if anything has changed since then.

  30. Gary Says:

    I realize this may be “duh,” but…for any Italian or Mediteranean-type meal (but not only for that), olive oil makes a great spread on toast. Then you mix in the spices: Garlic or garlic powder is classic, and great, but also basil, oregano, tarragon, cayenne, and other spices – or pre-mixed spice blends – work great.

  31. [...] folks that grow them (curses to Late Capitalism btw). Also considering what I now know about some palm oil, I also can’t ignore the ecological effects of what I eat, and I have no clue how my favorite [...]

  32. Kim Says:

    Does anyone know if the new organic Earth Balance contains sustainably produced palm oil. Is that an oxymoron or is the palm oil in South America truly sustainably produced?

    For right now I’ve been using Spectrum Spread. It’s vegan, contains canola oil, and contains no palm oil or hydrogenated oils.

  33. SarahSoda Says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of this palm oil problem. Suffice to say it makes me disappointed and mad: mad at the stupid humans forcing other humans to work like slaves (for ANYthing), and mad that I’ve found YET another “vegan” product that really isn’t vegan after all. And I don’t mean that it’s animal-based; to me veganism in this day and age has come to mean respectful of all life and encouraging of sustainability. Seriously, EB may as well be straight-up butter after hearing this news.

    And yet I am so not surprised to hear this new wrinkle at all. Not at all! Flippin palm oil. Is nothing sacred!!! This is so discouraging, especially in a household full of people who fight me every step of the way on my new lifestyle. They will dance a jig when they hear this one.

    Good idea to write EB, though. In fact, I’m going to go do that right now…

  34. [...] when vegans of color was having that discussion on how palm oil and products containing it (hello pukey Earth Balance!) are destructive to the [...]

  35. [...] that a word? It is now… anyway she’s a chef! And makes truffles!) Lagusta Yearwood, who suggested coconut oil as a substitute for troubling palm oil products like Earth Balance has some good news: [...]

    • Dee Says:

      how about instead of debating this we just write to them? i just wrote a letter…

      • Dee Says:

        i don’t know if anyone still reads this thread, but i wrote to earth balance and this is the reply i got.

        Our oil comes from the palm
        fruit, and it’s sourced primarily from Malaysia and not Eastern Malaysia
        (i.e. Sarawak and Sabah on the Island of Borneo). There are no
        orangutans in the wild on peninsular Malaysia. The palm fruit oil we obtain
        only comes from existing palm plantations and not new jungle-clearing
        projects. We purchase our oil from reputable, law-abiding plantations
        that are registered with their respective national governments.

        We DO NOT source palm fruit
        oil from Indonesia (Sumatra), the other primary home of orangutans. Indonesia
        has been the focal point for most of the concerns regarding sustainable palm
        oil production.

        If we can be of any other
        service, please do not hesitate to contact us or visit us online at
        earthbalancenatural.com

  36. johanna Says:

    Dee — I’m curious as to how you drew the conclusion that no one was writing letters, just because we chose to discuss the issue online? Especially given that people did mention writing letters. I myself wrote them a letter but never received a response, so I find theirs to you interesting. (& also a bit dubious, at first blush–just because something is registered w/the government doesn’t make it on the up-and-up…)

  37. ella Says:

    i just wrote earth balance a letter on their website:
    http://www.earthbalancenatural.com/#/contact/

    i told them that the production of palm oil destroys the natural habitat of orangutans who are now on the endangered species list. i asked them to remove palm oil from their ingredients or i would unfortunately, have to shop for another brand of vegan butter.

  38. Lillian Says:

    I know I’m more than a year late in commenting to this, but I just find it difficult to understand why Earth Balance would obtain its palm oil in such a manner, when the tree can be grown in several areas of the United States, without the abuse of workers and the damage to rain forest land and endangered species – and there are no Dayaks to be displaced off their native lands. Then again, the economies of many of these countries rest on palm oil production (for instance, in Indonesia, almost 2 million farmers grow oil palm), so what would happen if companies suddenly stopped purchasing it from them? There’s even a hospital in Sierra Leone that is directly funded by profits from palm oil.

    Africa is very different from Malaysia and Indonesia, and there is far less risk to the environment, and more to be gained by rural poor communities, by growing it there. Perhaps we should write to Earth Balance and ask that they purchase palm oil from African farmers?

    • johanna Says:

      Hi Lillian,

      I’m interested in hearing more: what countries in Africa do you refer to, & on what basis do you conclude that there’s less risk to the environment & more potential gain for rural poor communities there than in Malaysia & Indonesia?

      • Lillian Says:

        When I came across your post a few days ago, I did a little digging and some research before I shot my mouth off about something I didn’t know anything on. ;) And sadly, I really didn’t know anything about palm oil or the cost of obtaining it before I found your blog post, so absolute kudos to you for writing it – I have always considered myself educated about where my food comes from, and this was a shock to my system. I have to wonder what other things I put in my mouth that I think I’m educated about really come from sources that harm the earth and other human beings?

        In any case, in the small amount of research I did, I came across several articles quoting Greenpeace activists, observers, and studies done by the organization, about the impact of oil palm cultivation on the Dayak tribes of Borneo, as well as the destruction of peat bogs in both Indonesia and Malaysia. One of these workers mentioned a UN report, which they agreed with, that West African palm oil production has a lesser impact overall (as there are no native peoples being forced off their lands and there are no rain forest or peat bog lands to be destroyed) and that it is sustainable because it is a smallholder agriculture-type situation. They went on to say that there are actually UN initiatives to encourage small farmers in Africa to grow palm oil to improve conditions and livelihoods in their villages.

        • johanna Says:

          Thanks for the information, Lillian. I’ll have to put all this on the (ever-growing, natch) list of things to read up on more & find links about… I know that environmental groups like Greenpeace are not always as attuned to race/development/etc. issues as they should be, & similarly, I am cautious about the UN initiatives w/o knowing more.

          • Lillian Says:

            WOW – Cadbury has some big brass balls! Reminds me of the band-aid that Starbucks put on the fair/free trade coffee situation by offering one token fair trade flavor. One fair trade flavor is next to useless – just as 2800 “green” tonnes of palm oil out of an annual 40,000 is less than useless.

            Indeed, everything should be investigated further, and I admit that I am also a bit leery of anything that the UN says is a good idea. From what I know about West Africa (I have some missionary friends there), it does sound like an area that would greatly benefit from a good, small farm-based, agricultural program, but again, it’s always best to be cautious about UN studies.

            You bring up a good point about Greenpeace. Many environmental and animal rights groups often ignore the human element of a situation, which I find very strange. Then again, some environmental and animal rights activists see the human element as being unimportant. I’ll give them that humans are inherently destructive and are the cause of virtually every problem that exists, but one can’t escape from the fact that humans are also animals and a part of the environment – and are also worthy of protection!

  39. johanna Says:

    & coincidentally, I just today stumbled on this post: clearly persuading people that your palm oil is ethically OK is the hot thing to do right now!

  40. Wendy Says:

    Hey,
    I just found this post today because I recently found out about Earth Balance’s nasty secret. To Ico I wish to say that Earth Balance *is* pervasive; I live near Asheville, NC and all three veg restaurants in town offer not just margarine but Earth Balance by name; in other locations that offer vegan options, especially baked goods like cakes, they specify Earth Balance as the ingredient.

    Earth Balance is also owned by a corporation that makes Smart Balance, containing fish oil; and from some research I did a while back this same company engages in a kind of nasty shoreline trawling to rake in very important little garbage-eating fish from (I think it’s) the Atlantic Ocean to make their stuff.

    Also it can’t be denied that the scads of plastic, #5 which is much harder to recycle in many municipalities, is doing untold damage.

    I’m not saying that Earth Balance may not be a good crossover for people starting to become vegan who “can’t live without” butter, but for more seasoned activists it’s really quite a noxious corporation and product.

    For some good, margarine-free desserts, check out Fran Costigan’s first cookbook, Great Good Desserts Naturally. While I have my opinions about canola oil (I use safflower or sunflower instead), she uses the oil in place of margarine in things like cakes. And are they ever tasty!

    It strikes me as so typically American that we want to be vegan to save animals and the environment (at least some of us!) and yet when we suddenly “can’t” eat something that’s become a staple, we whine and complain about our lack of options. And I think back to the first vegans, or those who coined the term in 1944, and how they had even fewer options. AND the planet wasn’t nearly as destroyed then as it is now.

    (Disclaimer: apologies to non-Americans, and also, I am one of those whiny people more often than not. So I speak for myself especially on this one!)

    I’m ashamed to say I knew about the Earth Balance trawling issue for the past year and a half and have still eaten it. But this new development is something else, and I will not be supporting that corporation any longer.

    (for a tasty option to margarine on potatoes try some lemon juice and sea salt)

  41. [...] insides of trees (palm oil, yo) that will take years and years to regenerate. It also supposedly impacts the habitats of lots of endangered species. (And by “impacts,” I mean “destroys.”) Now, I don’t think of eggs as [...]

  42. Dawn Says:

    Thank you for bringing this topic to the forefront!
    I was a vegetarian for 15 years, and decided to go vegan as of this year.
    However, I was well aware of the Palm oil situation and chose to cut that out of my diet a couple of years ago, and was appalled when I started reading vegan websites for recipes that almost to a “T”, Earth Balance was mentioned as the panacea as a replacement for margarine…and it contained almost 100% palm oil…the highest amount of any margarine I have read the ingredients list of…including “Lactose free” magarines whose main ingredient is Canola oil, with only a small percentage of palm.

    As to the person who wrote Earth Balance and received a reply…I’m sorry you received such a pat and ill-conceived answer from the company.
    Orangutans are not the only species detrimentally effected by palm oil plantations.
    ALL palm oil plantations, whether they be “organic”, from South America or the far East, have replaced indigenous tropical forests for the sake of our convenience and displace and reduce the amount of environment available to ALL indigenous life living within them including numerous species of birds. We tend to focus on the Orangutan, but a host of other species are effected as well.

    Please read this article on how palm oil plantations are effecting bird life from Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “Living Bird” magazine:

    http://tinyurl.com/yj7we5g

    I first became aware of this situation doing research on a bird called the Yellow-faced Parrotlet that is the only parrotlet species to be red-listed. It lives in only one large valley in Peru, and it’s habitat is currently being rapidly destroyed for palm oil plantations.

    Our food is not the only culprit, nor the only reason there has been a huge increase in tropical forest destruction for Palm oil…bio-fuels also play a roll.

    But for those of us whose main focus is doing no harm to animals in the foods we place in our mouth…I have been very very surprised at the lack of attention and ignorance in the vegan community to this subject.

  43. gout Says:

    Soy Garden has palm oil in it, as does their olive oil spread.

  44. Lars Says:

    why do you just believe this blog – there are many ramifications that are missed in these generalizations such as palm fruit oil vs. palm seed oil; like Q: I’ve heard talk about palm oil and sustainability. Where does Earth Balance source its palm oil?

    A: 30% of our palm oil comes from Brazil, which is the source we use in all of our organic products. The remaining 70% is sourced from peninsular Malaysia where all of our suppliers are members of RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), the leading global organization developing and implementing global standards for sustainable palm oil production. All palm oil sourced from these suppliers comes only from existing palm plantations, not new jungle-clearing projects. We insist on continuing assurances from our suppliers that all palm fruit oil purchased for Earth Balance complies with the RSPO policies and we would not hesitate to terminate suppliers that violate these policies. More info on RSPO is available at http://www.rspo.org.

  45. Skai Juice Says:

    The problem with the soy free Earth Balance is that is uses Canola oil. I think coconut butter is the better alternative.


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