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by Conrad Landin
TRANSPORT union TSSA resolved to adopt an orangutan today as it swung behind the campaign against palm oil production.
The union also pledged to “minimise” its own use of palm oil products and push for a potential Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government to remove subsidies for the industry.
The WWF says palm oil is used in almost half of packaged products found in supermarkets. The clearing of trees for palm plantations leaves swathes of Indonesia and Malaysia deforested, leaving orangutans and other species without a habitat, while the industry increases greenhouse gas emissions.
Moving the motion at the TSSA conference yesterday, Women in Focus delegate Jill Murdoch said: “Palm oil is extremely cheap to produce in huge quantities. It’s cheap to produce in [terms of profits], but not so cheap in any other way.
“It is bad for workers who have poor conditions, especially in the illegal sector, and it is enormously bad for the environment.
“The orangutan is a symbol of the campaign and a symbol of the environment.”
Palm oil is also used to produce biodiesel which TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said was “three times worse for climate change” than diesel itself.
“The destruction of virgin rainforest at a rate of 300 football fields an hour is a clear example of the way that capitalists put profiteering ahead of every other consideration even in supposedly ‘green’ industries such as the production of biodiesel,” Mr Cortes said.
“Biodiesel is actually three times worse for climate change than the use of diesel alone. By far the most environmentally friendly way to travel is by public transport such as trains.
“The TSSA doesn’t ‘monkey around’ when it comes to taking action on climate change. So I’m delighted that we’re adopting an orangutan through WWF.”
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