As part of our ongoing work to transform the palm oil industry, we have looked around the world to find places where increases in palm oil production and use will threaten forests and indigenous communities.
Palm oil has caused more than 30,000 square miles of deforestation, driven primarily by markets for food, personal care, and biofuels. But the government of Japan promoted a whole new dangerous market for the product by introducing large-scale subsidies for burning palm oil to make electricity.
Construction of a palm oil power plant in Maizuru, Japan would have driven up demand – adding 120,000 tons to the approximately 750,000 tons of palm oil Japan already imports each year, mostly for food and consumer goods.
Following a months-long campaign by local residents with support from Japanese and international environmental groups, the proposed Maizuru palm oil-burning power plant has been cancelled. The victory also marks a rising global awareness of the harmful impacts that irresponsibly sourced palm oil can have on tropical forests, endangered animals, and climate change.