Sustainable Replacement for Palm Oil


Problem: Palm Oil is an incredibly unsustainable and ecologically damaging resource, which is commonly found in most commercially produced, processed foods. The cultivation of the resource has lead to a large amount of deforestation, as well as the endangerment of animal species, most notably the Sumatran orangutan. Although companies like Unilever have claiming awareness and action to help rectify the damaging effects of obtaining palm oil, largely by creating “sustainable” palm oil forests, harvesting this resource is ultimately damaging local ecosystems, fracturing communities, and is of great harm to the planet.

Technology/Solution: A company called Kiverdi is creating a synthetic palm oil-like blend by using CO2. Akin to the process of brewing beer, Kiverdi uses, “microbes to transform waste carbon from industry into the new oil inside bioreactors.”


  • Citizens who live in regions with palm forests (Malaysia and Indonesia) where pollution rates are sky-high, due to palm oil cultivation
  • Multinational corporations such as ConAgra and Unilever that use palm oil in a large percentage of their product offerings
  • Global citizens/future generations

Implementation: Once approved, and deemed safe to use, it would likely take lobbying to activate legislation, mandating multinational corporations that manufacture processed food and personal care products, to (over a certain time period) shift the source of palm in their production lines to this more sustainable source.

Or, perhaps government could create tax incentives that encourage such businesses to gradually shift their palm provider to this synthetic source.



One thought on “Sustainable Replacement for Palm Oil

  1. Thanks for sharing this Ian! I really enjoyed reading about the substitute to palm oil. The extent of use of palm oil is scary and massive. Entire nation economies (and consequently destruction of several crucial rainforests) depend on palm oil production. I would love to see synthetic palm oil, that are healthy and have a less environmental impact, transform this current dependency. [UNI: mb4033]


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