The deadly haze is the symptom of serious environmental, social and political issues related to agricultural products, especially palm oil and paper. More than 50% of products that we buy from supermarkets contain palm oil.
However, we do not advocate boycotting palm oil because palm oil is the most efficient oil crop, yielding as high as 10 times comparing to canola or soy. With increasing demand for vegetable oil, shifting to other oil crop will require more land and more deforestation may happen. In short, we want to change the destructive ways that palm oil is produced instead of boycotting palm oil.
Based on our assessment, palm oil that is certified by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is closest for being haze-free. As consumer, you can help stop the haze by supporting haze-free products!
3 steps to shop haze-free!
First, look out for palm oil ingredients: Palm Oil and Derivatives of Palm Oil are widely used in food, skin care, cleaning products, to name a few. Form a good habit of reading the ingredient list before purchasing. Once you spot the palm oil ingredient in the products, think twice about whether you need it. Reducing palm oil consumption is the first step towards going haze-free.
Here are most common names of palm oil ingredients:
- Vegetable Oil,
- Vegetable Fat,
- Palm Kernel/ Palm Kernel Oil,
- Palm Fruit Oil,
- Palmitic Acid/ Palmate /Palmitate/ Etyl Palmitate/ Octyl Palmitate,
- Palmolein/ Palm olein,
- Glyceryl Stearate/ Stearic Acid/ Palm Stearine,
- Elaeis Guineensis,
- Palmityl Alcohol/ Cetyl Alcohol
- Palmitoyl Oxostearamide/ Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3,
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate/ Sodium Lauryl Sulfate,
- Sodium Kernelate/ Sodium Palm Kernelate,
- Palm Glycerides
There are around 200 names of palm oil ingredients. Check out the comprehensive A-Z of palm oil here: http://www.palmoilinvestigations.org/names-for-palm-oil.html
Second, choose products that are certified sustainable by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Brands have different levels of commitment to sustainable palm oil and different ways of communicating about it. Here in Singapore, due to the low level of awareness of the palm oil issue, our haze-free options are quite limited. But fear not, PM.Haze volunteers manage to dig out products that are haze-free and to keep our database up-to-date.
Use of sustainable palm oil:
*Best* RSPO-Certified: meaning that 100% of palm oil used is from sustainable sources (In RSPO lingo, it’s segregated supply chain certification).
*Better* RSPO-Mixed: meaning that it’s a mixture of certified and uncertified palm oil (In RSPO lingo, it’s mass balance supply chain certification).
Ways of communicating about palm oil use:
*Best* RSPO-Certified/RSPO-Mixed logo on package
*Better* Indicate that Certified Sustainable Palm Oil/Sustainable Palm Oil is being used.
*Outstanding* Dutifully publicise the Annual Communication Of Progress (ACOP) report through RSPO but no indication on product packaging.
*Outstanding* Self-claim that the palm oil is from RSPO sources. Although there’s no way to verify the claim externally, we would like to give the companies the benefit of doubt.
So here you go, the list of haze-free food products that you can find in Singapore:
The above list is crowd-sourced by PM.Haze volunteers. Do contact us if you are interested in scouting supermarket shelves every now and then and spot the sustainable palm oil products.
You can also find the most up-to-date information on brands from RSPO website, unfortunately most certified products cannot be found in Singapore. For more information on RSPO certified companies, please visit rspo.org.
As you can see from the above list, our haze-free options in Singapore are limited. Many companies responded to our request of switching to sustainable palm oil by saying there’s no consumer demand. This is actually a good news, because we people in Singapore are very good at making demands. Our voice of demand is stronger when many people raise the demand together. So the last step is to show our demand both online and offline. Watch out for PM.Haze campaigns and our offline activities, join us when you can! Stay connected by joining our FaceBook and Mailing List!