Going palm oil free
Is it possible to completely avoid palm oil?

Doesn’t “organic” mean “sustainable”?

The biggest influence for me in writing this blog is knowing that people who are following what I am doing are influenced by the same things. Everyone loves some foods that contain palm oil and so many people have been willing to give up their favourites to support the orangutans’ plight and to support my message.

Today one friend found Green & Black’s chocolate and nut spread. Hoping it would be a palm oil free alternative to Nutella, with Green & Black’s organic credentials, she saw that the ingredients contained “organic palm fat”.

Now organic is good. Isn’t it? It’s kind of green – aren’t organic things better than non-organic?

Another friend has asked “Doesn’t organic mean sustainable?” You would really hope that this was a credential of being organic. I don’t even know what organic means, but a look at the ingredients on this, and other, organic foods would suggest otherwise.

I’m an ordinary guy, not a scientist. Well, I have a science background and am studying oceanography as we speak, but I get my definitions from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_food

The definition, to me anyway, is too wordy and complex for this blog. The key seems to be the lack of use of chemical fertilisers, and that’s pretty much it. Environmental sustainability is mentioned but only in conjunction with fairtrade production. You can make organic chocolate spread, and have your palm oil sourced from anywhere you like. Be ethical, yes, but in only one element.

Palm oil isn’t sustainable. It has to be one day, and that has to be soon. But it’s not. And even companies with a green ethic are skirting the issue. If a company can convince people of its greenness by being “organic” then it doesn’t matter about other failings.

As I write, I’ve been messaged the following independently by the friend who drew my attention to this in the first place: “I;m sure they just put the word organic in front to make it seem ok. I don’t trust Green & Blacks, too mass-market now”

I’m inclined to agree.

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2 Responses to “Doesn’t “organic” mean “sustainable”?”

  1. It does seem that organic doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable, and even fairtrade doesn’t seem a good label to ensure that the product has been produced in a sustainable manner. Maybe there needs to be a new standard?

  2. We used to buy G&B’s dark chocolate but no longer do as they’ve started to add whole milk powder to it… making it unsuitable for those following a lactose free diet like we do. Think things have changed since they became part of the cadbury group, sadly.


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