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Coconut Oil, Conservation and the Conscientious Consumer

36 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2020 Sneak Peek Status: Review Complete

See all articles by Erik Meijaard

Erik Meijaard

University of Kent - Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology

Jesse Abrams

Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research

Diego Juffe-Bignoli

UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)

Maria Voigt

University of Kent - Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology

Douglas Sheil

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) - Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management

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Abstract

Consumption has consequences, and conscientious consumers increasingly seek sound guidance to reduce their impact. Objective guidance is, however, rarely available. A case in point is coconut production which is generally considered to have low environmental impact. We demonstrate that for one impact measure of all major oil crops — threatened species per volume produced — coconut, together with maize, affect far more species than all other major oil crops, including palm oil. Our analysis indicates that the public discourse about crop impact is distorted. What ethical consumers need is unbiased information based on transparent and objective measures that address multiple concerns, costs and impacts, and allow fair comparisons between products.

Keywords: Coconut, biodiversity, Conservation, sustainable development goals, vegetable oil crop, oil palm, tropics, deforestation, IUCN Red List

Suggested Citation

Meijaard, Erik and Abrams, Jesse and Juffe-Bignoli, Diego and Voigt, Maria and Sheil, Douglas, Coconut Oil, Conservation and the Conscientious Consumer. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3575129 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3575129
This is a paper under consideration at Cell Press and has not been peer-reviewed.

Erik Meijaard (Contact Author)

University of Kent - Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology ( email )

United Kingdom

Jesse Abrams

Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research ( email )

Germany

Diego Juffe-Bignoli

UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) ( email )

219 Huntingdon Road
Cambridge, CB3 0DL
United Kingdom

Maria Voigt

University of Kent - Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology ( email )

United Kingdom

Douglas Sheil

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) - Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management ( email )

Norway

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