organic products grown in a sustainable habitat

Environmental impact

07 November 2013

environment, social reponsibility, farmers, health, partnership

There has been a rise in the demand for vegetable oil since the 1970s, reaching an expected all-time high in 2009-2013 (around 200-340 million tons) according to acclaimed author of the “The Oil Palm”, and researcher R.H.V. Corley (2009). In terms of palm oil consumption, in the early 2000s the consumption was around 85 million tons per year, whereas in 2012 it increased by 77%, reaching over 150 million tons. This rapid expansion of the palm oil is due to changes in dietary habits in developing countries such as China and India, which currently account for 30% of the total edible oil consumption.

The palm oil industry has generated significant economic growth in developing countries– most notably in South-East Asia (in Indonesia and Malaysia) and Latin America (in Colombia and Ecuador). According to the article “How will oil palm expansion affect biodiversity?” in the journal of Trends in Ecology and Evolution, this development has come at a high cost to the environment.

The key environmental problems associated with palm oil production consist of:
1. Climate change. Agriculture is both affected by climate change but also contributes to it. In particular, the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers in conventional agriculture is a major contributor to global warming and high nitrogen concentrations in the soil.
2. Loss of biodiversity. The habitat destruction is leading to the demise of critically endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger, the Asian rhinoceros and Sumatran Orangutan. Biodiversity loss can also affect human health, as it is largely dependent on the quality of the ecosystem in which we live – loss of plant or animal species can affect the quality of water or soil according to OECD 2005 .

Palm oil producers have to take these changes into account and to minimize their impact on the environment. But every problem has a solution. So what is the solution in this case?

Palm oil producers should focus on sustainable and organic agricultural production. It will help by:
1. Minimizing the impact on climate change- Organic agriculture produces a sequestration of CO2 in the soil, reducing the greenhouse gases emission. Organic farming could reduce up to 40% of global greenhouse gases emissions out of the atmosphere each year.
2. Preserving biodiversity- Organic agriculture helps in preserving fertility of the ecosystem. In addition, using sustainable agriculture techniques will not only enable to preserve biodiversity but also to ensure that there is enough to feed the world and increase the livelihood of farmers.

In this respect, investing in organic and sustainable palm plantation practices is a long-term commitment, and Natural Habitats is a good example of it. For Natural Habitats, sustainability is a combination of organic and fair trade, which is achieved by ensuring fair and equal opportunities to all the farmers while working in harmony with the environment. The operations of Natural Habitats’ in Ecuador and Sierra Leone are settled in areas where no critically endangered species has been identified; furthermore, the group invests in several programs to enhance biodiversity, and to protect the environment while training, and empowering small farm holders.

In addition:

1. Natural Habitats minimizes the impact of climate change: Natural Habitats’ independent small farm holders have plantations on already degraded land or grassland, which enables the preservation of the primary forests.

2. Natural Habitats focuses on preserving biodiversity by focusing on environmental activities such as:
· Using organic and sustainable farming practices to conserve biodiversity;
· Providing farmers with the necessary skills and information about sustainable and organic farming;
· Reducing carbon footprint by reducing CO2 emissions and converting organic waste into organic compost;
· Using 1% sales for social and environmental stewardship programs.

Overall, Natural Habitats not only focuses on the 3P of People, Planet and Profit but also, on Development–uplifting the livelihood of farmers through empowerment and creating social programs for the growth of the community on areas such as: nutrition, education and health. More about our program can be found here .


Blog & News

Palm Oil Is Everywhere

Palm oil (Elaeis guineensis) originates from West Africa. Once planted, after 3-4 years’ palm oil trees start to producing its first fruits and will continue all year-round for up to 30 years. Oil Palm is high yielding; it produces more oil per hectare than any other major oil seed crop.

Did you know that half of your items in your house contain palm oil?
Palm oil is also the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet

farmers, social reponsibility, environment, organic

Why Farm Organically?

With a growing population, nearly 10 billion people by 2050, and an increasing demand for food, agriculture is placed under extreme pressure. We heavily rely on services that the industry provides to us, such as food, clothes, wood, and many others. Unfortunately, with biodiversity losses and deforestation practices that accompany modern agriculture, these services are currently at risk. Therefore, we must take actions to sustain biodiversity, soils and forests for the generations to come

social reponsibility, environment, farmers, organic

An Important Role of Intercropping in Modern Agriculture

Population of our planet is constantly growing. The threat of insufficient food supply in the near future encourages intensification of the search for more productive agricultural technics. At Natural Habitats, we believe that well-planned intercropping is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to increase agricultural productivity.

Intercropping, as well as other forms of multiple cropping, is an ancient method of intensive agriculture that involves cultivation of two or more crops simultaneously on the same field

environment, farmers

Mainstream Sustainable Palm Oil Production in Ecuador

Deforestation caused by many palm-oil producers, harming wildlife habitats, has been a widespread concern around the world. However, more and more palm oil is now being sourced sustainably with a help of the certification initiative promoted by a non-profit association Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) that aims to transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm. Natural Habitats as 100% organic and sustainable producer was certified with RSPO standard in 2013.

In May 2013, Natural Habitats in Ecuador (Exportsustent) together with Solidaridad and National Association of Oil Palm Growers (ANCUPA) developed a pioneering project Mainstream Sustainable Palm Oil Production in Ecuador

farmers, environment, partnership, social reponsibility

An Ongoing Education of Farmers

Natural Habitats believes in doing business in harmony with the environment. This is the reason for us to continuously encourage smallholder farmers in Ecuador and Sierra Leone into getting involved in organic and sustainable production of palm oil.

On a regular basis, we educate and train our smallholder farmers in nature preservation and organic farming practices for not only their own good but for the betterment of the society

farmers, partnership, social reponsibility

Fair Trade Explained

Today, we are surrounded by numerous certifications on the products we buy at supermarkets. It is getting more and more confusing to figure out what exactly most of them stand for. Some labels are self-explanatory and some are not. Fair for Life Social and FairTrade certification belongs to the second category. Therefore, most of the consumers do not even realize that while they purchase Fair for Life or FairTrade certified products they contribute to the empowerment of poor around the world

farmers, social reponsibility, environment

Why Healthy Palm Oil is not an Oxymoron

When people hear about palm oil the first thing that usually comes to their mind is heart disease. The logic is pretty simple: fifty per cent of the oil consists of saturated fat that supposed to be bad for the heart, therefore, palm oil causes heart disease. However, numerous studies continue to confirm that palm oil does not promote heart problems and, if anything, it protects against them

cooking, health

Sustaining Food Security

Pressure on the world’s food supply is constantly increasing due to population growth, changing diets and government policies promoting biofuels. Current estimates suggest that by 2050 the food demand will be twice what it was in 2005. Biotech companies have strongly promoted the idea that genetically engineered (GE) crops are the key to “feeding the world”. According to Environmental Working Group , recent studies show that this promise has fallen flat

environment, farmers, social reponsibility