Palm Oil: Sustainability, Health and Economics (POSHE)

Researchers

Bhavani Shankar, Richard Smith, Marcus Keogh-Brown

Colleges

LSHTM, SOAS

Description

Palm oil, a ubiquitous food ingredient, has brought economic benefit to Asia, but has been linked with negative health (cardiovascular disease risk) and environmental (deforestation and greenhouse gas emission) outcomes. Potential health and environmental benefits flowing from careful policy development to alter edible oil consumption profiles in the region are substantial, but need to be balanced against economic impacts.

Project details

Palm oil, a ubiquitous food ingredient, has brought economic benefit to Asia, but has been linked with negative health (cardiovascular disease risk) and environmental (deforestation and greenhouse gas emission) outcomes. Potential health and environmental benefits flowing from careful policy development to alter edible oil consumption profiles in the region are substantial, but need to be balanced against economic impacts. This research will break new ground in terms of (i) investigating health, economic as well as environmental aspects of palm oil at an economy/population-wide scale, and (ii) integrating health as well as environmental aspects with a whole-economy macroeconomic model. This interdisciplinary pilot project set in Thailand will (i) examine interconnections between economic, health and environmental dimensions of palm oil production and consumption, and (ii) identify and simulate the impacts of a set of policy-relevant scenarios. The modelling approach involves integration of data and combination of macroeconomic and health models with an environmental module. Policies will be simulated, and economic, health and environmental impacts estimated. Trade-offs and synergies will be examined, and policy recommendations made.