Chief Product Officer, Ali Brushaber, explains the difference between palm sugar and palm oil and how each affects the plight of orangutans.
Hail Merry supports mothers of all kinds including orangutans. These precious creatures are at risk of becoming extinct because of the practices of urban developers and palm oil plantations. It’s common practice to burn the land before developing a palm oil plantation, and many of these planned fires have spread uncontrollably with devastating effects. Orangutans often die because they can’t escape the flames.
Confusion about coconut palm sugar and palm oil has led to some consumers believing Hail Merry supports deforestation of the natural habitat of Orangutans. This is not true. The coconut sugar sourced by Hail Merry is made in a facility in Java Island, Indonesia. Orangutan populations are in Kalimantan (Borneo) or Sumatera island (different island from Java). Coconut palm sugar is made from the green coconut palm tree – Cocos Nucifera. There are over 1,600 varieties of palm trees and the oil palm tree, which has been the cause of deforestation, is just one variety. Palm trees are believed to be the oldest flowering tree on the planet and have had millions of years to adapt and perfect its existence in the place it prefers to live; the tropics. Coconut trees live in the rainforest and on sandy beaches of deserted islands; coconuts are always being produced. Coconut palm sugar is produced from the nectar that feeds the coconuts production and since coconuts are always being produced from the tree, the nectar is always flowing.
It’s not the tree’s fault for the deforestation; it’s because of how humanity has used this tree. It is a combination of economic pressure, greed, ignorance, and natural disasters. The population of Indonesia is growing at an astounding rate, and with more mouths to feed, forests are being replaced by farms. People and orangutans share the same space and in any conflict between humans and orangutans, the orangutan always loses.
Hail Merry uses organic palm sugar from sustainable farms in Java for her Meyer Lemon, Persian Lime and Coconut Vanilla Crème Miracle Tarts®. Companies like Hail Merry have helped to create a demand in the United States and have worked with a group who oversee the many ‘sugarhouses’ who maintain internal controls, certifications and quality assurance. Eight years ago, the independent farmers were poor. Today, the producers are earning a living wage and have moved above the poverty line.