Palm oil is a vegetable oil obtained from oil palms and is used in many consumer goods, from processed food to biofuel. In recent years, worldwide production of palm oil has increased in volume to meet demand. Indonesia is the leading producer of palm oil, with a recorded 45.3 million metric tons of palm oil produced in 2021/2022. Malaysia, which produces the second-largest amount of palm oil, is headquarters to the majority of the leading palm oil companies.
As might be expected from the largest production sources, Indonesia and Malaysia are also the largest exporters of palm oil worldwide, shipping out a total of over 28 million and 16 million metric tons respectively in 2021/2022. India imports the most palm oil of any country, with an import value of about 5.5 billion U.S. dollars for 2020. That year, over one billion U.S. dollars value of palm oil was imported into the United States. As of October 2020, palm oil stocks stood at around 376 million pounds in the United States.
Palm oil and deforestation
Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil worldwide. It is not only used in many types of food but can also be found in cosmetics and other personal care products. Since 2016, the consumption of palm oil within the European Union has increased. From 2005 to 2012, the correlation between deforestation and the expansion of palm oil plantations could be assumed due to the vast expansion of both private and commercial palm oil plantations.
Indonesia increased efforts to have certified sustainable hectares of palm oil plantations, where plantations follow specific social and environmental standards. However, certified palm oil production is still only a small portion of the palm oil produced worldwide . In Latin America, just over 340 thousand hectares planted with oil palm trees have a sustainability certification.
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