"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.
The issue of conflict palm oil is that, through clearing land and forest for production, the industry is a major contributor to global issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty, and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced. Indonesia and Malaysia are the main countries affected by this, but, as pressure from environmentalists continues, multinational corporations are being held accountable for the damage caused in these areas and are therefore looking for other countries suitable for palm oil production such as Cameroon, Liberia, and nations around the Congo basin. Cameroon, according to Greenpeace, is at risk of suffering the same consequences of palm oil production as Indonesia and Malaysia. So this problem is continuing to grow.
According to several multinational corporations such as Pepsi, Kraft, Campbell's, and Heinz there isn't even a problem. Even a little research on this subject easily disproves that statement. Researchers in West Africa have even suggested that palm oil expansion in Guinea may have played a part in the Ebola Crisis. The authors of this study have stated, however, that the connection remains to be proven and much more research is needed. .
The issue of palm oil production is extremely complex. It is all linked to multinational corporations. There is such a demand for palm oil because it is cheaper to produce than other oils. It can produce ten times more oil per hectare than any other oilseed such as soybean, sunflower, or canola, according to Sime Darby, a multinational conglomerate company based in Malaysia. Sime Darby is the largest producer of sustainable palm oil and paints a wonderful picture of how much it is going to manage production of palm oil in an environmentally friendly way.