Beast Burger: Just When You Think You’re Doing Good By Going Vegetarian You’re Contributing to Deforestation!


Because of the environmental footprint and animal cruelty that goes hand-in-hand with industrial-scale meat farming, I have severely cut back on my meat intake over the past several months.  I only partake maybe once or twice a month now on special occasions (like a birthday meal) and I search for ethically-sourced meat — and never lamb, pork or veal (far too beautiful!).  In so doing, I feel like I’m putting my money where my environmental (big) mouth is.

To that end, we barbecued (OK, indoor grilled) some Beast Burgers recently.  But not before I looked at the ingredients of this seemingly green veggie product.  Here’s what the label says via an asterisk by the ominous palm oil entry:

 “Contributes to production of certified sustainable palm oil”

Then below that is the big, shiny Green Palm, Sustainability trademark.

Green palm


Well, this angers me to no end.  Just when you think you’re doing something right — eating veggie (or vegan as here), using products that have no GMO sources, etc. — this comes along — a bullshit, big, happy, “Look at us, we’re an environmentally sane” GreenPalm certificates rationalization.  Or something like that.  

Well, thanks but no thanks.  As it was recently put to me via that top-notch fellow enviro-blog,, a company’s policy to use GreenPalm certs merely means that it already USES unsustainable palm oil and purchases offsets, like a carbon-trading scheme.  Please see chart below.


As you can see, purchasing Green Palm Certificates is about the minimum a company can do on the deforestation issue, other than have NO policy on deforestation in the first place, that is.  It’s at the freaking top (or bottom metaphorically, rather) of the “no-deforestation policy” hierarchy.

And it’s not like this product needs any more oil.  It contains canola, flaxseed, sunflower and something called “DHA algal oil.”  Why the need for palm oil?

So naturally I wrote the manufacturer, Beyond Meat, my usual palm oil email inquiry.

Here’s their short and all too brief response:

Dear Mr.XXXX,

Thank you so much for your feedback and concern. I have already passed your note onto my R&D supervisor.
Thank you,
Beyond Meat Team


I want to yell out, “NOT PRODUCTIVE!” So, consequently, I pushed back, requesting a comment for this blog entry. If and when they respond I will post it here.

Until then, needless to say, I will be boycotting their product until they undertake a deforestation policy that has some real teeth.

Damn! I really thought I was doing some good.

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7 Responses to Beast Burger: Just When You Think You’re Doing Good By Going Vegetarian You’re Contributing to Deforestation!

  1. Shelby says:

    I have some Spectrum organic all vegetable shortening that says it contains only ‘mechanical pressed palm oil’ that is sourced from ‘small family farmers in Columbia who cultivate & process our palm oil in an environmentally friendly manner.’ Is this true or is it green-washing?

    • Shelby, hard to say. Just because they “cultivate and process” their palm oil in an allegedly sustainable manner NOW does not mean they didn’t destroy biodiverse rainforest to put up a monoculture palm oil plantation in the past. If so that is hardly sustainable. Or were the “small family farm()s” planted on already degraded land? We should write and inquire.

  2. Thank you for this. Sharing – and following. So many have no clue; and others just aren’t aware or choose not to see in interconnectedness of every single thing.

  3. manuel rivera says:

    Let us know if they respond. My guess is they haven’t thought through the deforestation vs cost efficiency tradeoff the pursue truly ethical practices that arent bullshit. As a capitalist i would also deal with that later after chasing the billions $.

    • They didn’t respond. That was a few years ago. But I checked out the ingredients of Beyond Meat products. Another blog writes:

      “The main ingredients in the Beyond Meat products are pea protein, canola oil and coconut oil. The first two are mainly grown in Canada and the US and the coconuts are grown in Malaysia and Indonesia. I’ve written about the impact of coconut oil before and consider it an ethical product when sourced well (e.g., Nutiva coconut oil gets 5/5 Green Stars). Note that coconuts don’t compete for rainforest land, as palm oil does.”

      Go read their blog to find out about the peas.

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