Put simply sustainable is about living in harmony with nature and the environment, and supporting its preservation. The term “sustainable” is often associated with “ethical”. Yet the two mean different things, and are often in direct conflict with one another.
Take for example, the Bank of England considering plans to replace the animal fat in its new polymer bank notes to “appease” vegans and religious groups who have complained about its “unethical” and “unacceptable” use in the notes.
While it “appeases” this group, a greater threat to the environment and the animal kingdom is at stake here, as the Bank of England considers the use of palm oil as a substitute for the animal fat.
The main threat to the survival of orangutan populations in the wild is the massive expansion of palm oil plantations in Borneo and Sumatra.
Is replacing an animal by-product in bank notes with a vegetable-based, unsustainable alternative really worth the risk of an already endangered species, such as orangutans, becoming extinct?
Tallow, the animal fat used in the bank notes, is an animal by-product. This rendered form of beef or mutton fat is administered through a head-to-tail, zero-waste approach, ensuring that every part of the animal is used, which in and of itself is sustainable.
Conservation organisation WWF has warned the Bank of England about palm oil, stating that: “non-sustainable production of palm oil and other vegetable-based oils can lead to destruction of forests, with significant negative impacts on wildlife, as well as on the local indigenous human populations”.
Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. It’s used in just about everything. Walk into any aisle in a supermarket, and chances are palm oil is one of the ingredients in most products – crisps, crackers, cakes, chocolate, shower gel, detergent, the list is endless.
Increasing global demand for palm oil has fuelled massive forest destruction throughout Indonesia and Malaysian, countries that together account for 85% of the world’s palm oil production. So then is there really any need to add banks notes to the use of palm oil?
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable lifestyle and living, wellbeing, music and arts. Rosalind also works as a counsellor, intuitive reader and spiritual life coach helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com