Peru has just become the second South American country to commit to ending palm oil driven deforestation by 2021, according to reports.
The move has been described ‘a momentous win’ for wildlife and sustainable agriculture by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).
Peru has joined Colombia on its environmental promise, which was made possible by the NWF, the largest private, non-profit conservation education and advocacy organisation in the United States. It has more than six million members and supporters and 51 state and territorial affiliated organisation, Live Kindly reports.
The NFW worked with Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo – a local partner, as well as Peruvian palm oil Producers’ Association JUNAPALMA for two years in a bid to achieve the agreement.
As per Live Kindly, Kiryssa Kasprzyk, who led the NFW’s work on the agreement, said in a statement:
This commitment is a momentous development for the people of Peru and the global effort to confront climate change. It underscores that we can feed the world without hurting biodiversity or clear-cutting tropical forests.
Palm oil is a vegetable oil which is extracted from the fruit and the seeds of the oil palm and can be found in half of all packaged goods found in UK supermarkets.
It’s used in goods like bread, cereal, chocolate, shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning products, biofuel and more, and will often be listed under various different names such as kernal, fruit oil, palmate and stearine, meaning many people don’t even know it’s in their products.
However, production of the oil sees forests being burned down to make room for plantations, contributing to climate change and destroying habitats. Last year, Peru lost 140,000 hectares of forest, putting the country in seventh place in terms of forest loss, according to Global Forest Watch.
Deforestation is thought to be responsible for 10 per cent of all global emissions, thanks to greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere when trees are cut down.
The production of the vegetable oil has also driven orangutans as being classified as critically endangered. According to Greenpeace, Bornean orangutan populations have more than halved between 1999 and 2015.
Peru and Colombia’s promise aligns with the Joint Declaration of Intent, which has been signed by Norway and Germany, and intends to end deforestation by 2021.
It also aligns with a recent climate change report which outlined the importance of maintaining forests and sensitive habitats in South and North America in a bid to help fight climate change.