As companies leveled forests in Southeast Asia to grow oil palms, the demand for palm oil fueled climate change and biodiversity loss. But such deforestation has declined nearly every year over the last decade in Indonesia, the world’s largest producer, and in 2021, hit a 22-year low. Malaysia has seen a similar trend. Between 1995 and 2005, advocacy groups linked palm oil in everyday products to environmental harm, and in 2013, Wilmar -- one of the world’s largest palm oil companies -- limited deforestation in its supply chain. Most other major companies followed suit. In December, the European Union agreed to prevent companies from selling palm oil in the EU if it comes from recently-cleared forests. Today, curbing global deforestation is less about palm oil and more about other products such as beef. Between 2001 and 2015, cattle caused roughly four times as much deforestation as palm oil, globally, and advocates are now focused on translating what worked for palm oil to the beef industry.

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