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Coconut oil, conservation and the conscientious consumer


  • Meijaard, Erik
  • Abrams, Jesse Frank

    (University of Exeter)

  • Juffe-Bignoli, Diego
  • Voigt, Maria
  • Sheil, Douglas


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Meijaard, Erik & Abrams, Jesse Frank & Juffe-Bignoli, Diego & Voigt, Maria & Sheil, Douglas, 2020. "Coconut oil, conservation and the conscientious consumer," SocArXiv du5tp, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:du5tp
    DOI: 10.31219/

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Beyer & Tim Rademacher, 2021. "Species Richness and Carbon Footprints of Vegetable Oils: Can High Yields Outweigh Palm Oil’s Environmental Impact?," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(4), pages 1-10, February.
    2. Jake E. Bicknell & Jesse R. O’Hanley & Paul R. Armsworth & Eleanor M. Slade & Nicolas J. Deere & Simon L. Mitchell & David Hemprich-Bennett & Victoria Kemp & Stephen J. Rossiter & Owen T. Lewis & Davi, 2023. "Enhancing the ecological value of oil palm agriculture through set-asides," Nature Sustainability, Nature, vol. 6(5), pages 513-525, May.

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