Twycross Zoo Palm Oil Strategy
Background on Palm Oil
Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world and the demand for it is increasing every year. It is an important ingredient for a broad range of products we are using every day, including foods, cosmetics and cleaning products. Conventional palm oil production has various negative effects on the environment and also often on local communities.
Big areas of tropical rainforests have been destroyed to make room for palm oil plantations, which means habitat loss for numerous endangered species such as orangutans, tigers, rhinos, elephants and many more.
In addition, this large-scale deforestation also has disastrous effects on the global climate change due to the release of greenhouse gases from peat soils when forests are burned.
Generating new palm oil plantations has led to disputes over land rights and evictions of local communities and there have been issues with questionable health and safety conditions for plantation workers.
On the other hand, the palm tree is the most efficient producer of vegetable oil per cultivated land. It is a critical part of economy, particularly in Malaysia and Indonesia and millions of people earn their living with it. To cope with the worlds demands for vegetable oils and to minimise negative effects for the environment and its people, palm oil must be produced in a sustainable way.
Round table of sustainable palm oil
The round table of sustainable palm oil (RSPO) is an international multi-stakeholder organisation for companies spanning the entire supply chain that sets minimum standards for the production of sustainable palm oil. Principles for growers and mills to produce certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) including, amongst others, a commitment to management and operating procedure transparency, environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity and responsible consideration of employees, and of individuals and communities affected by growers and mills.
There are 4 RSPO supply chain models, in order of decreasing palm oil traceability:
- Identity Preserved (IP): Sustainable palm oil kept apart and is traceable to one certified mill and its supply base.
-> End product contains 100% certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO).
- Segregated (SG): Certified sustainable palm oil can be traced back to several certified supply bases and is kept separated from non-certified palm oil throughout the entire supply chain.
-> End product contains 100% certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO).
- Mass Balance (MB): Mixing of sustainable and conventional palm oil is allowed if it is monitored administratively.
-> End product contains an unknown amount of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO).
- Book & Claim (B&C): Green Palm certificates sold by RSPO certified mills directly to end-users, which don’t have access to certified palm oil.
-> End product doesn’t contain certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), but retailer is supporting RSPO certified mills indirectly by buying Green Palm certificates from them. Green Palm Certificates is seen as a temporary measure only with the ultimate aim being the purchase of 100% segregated palm oil.
Situation in the UK
“The United Kingdom is working towards achieving 100% sourcing of credibly certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) by the end of 2015” (DEFRA statement, 2012)
The DEFRA progress report, published in October 2015, showed that segregated and Mass Balance CSPO and purchases of GreenPalm certificates by UK companies in 2014 were equivalent to an estimated proportion of either 72% or 93% of UK palm oil imports (depending on baseline trade data used). However, this number doesn’t include import of palm oil derivatives and finished goods (source: Defra Annual Review on UK Consumption of Sustainable Palm Oil October 2015).
Irrespective of the UK government goals, Twycross Zoo wants to take responsibility for its palm oil procurement by developing its own sustainable palm oil procurement policy.
Position within the Zoo World
The World and European Associations of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA, EAZA) as well as BIAZA are supporting the procurement of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO).
BIAZA supports the UK commitment for 100% certified sustainable palm oil by 2015 and is encouraging and supporting its members to develop their own commitments and palm oil policies. BIAZA is supporting members to remove unsustainable palm oil from their supply chains either by sourcing only sustainable palm oil or by stopping the use of palm oil entirely. ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, as well as Chester Zoo have already implemented Palm oil strategies and BIAZA has published a palm oil procurement guidance document to help Zoos develop their own palm oil policy.
BIAZA’s 7 steps to develop sustainable palm oil procurement standards:
- Develop a palm oil procurement policy that clearly outlines your organisation’s commitments and timeframes.
- Carry out a review of all products potentially containing palm oil that are procured by the different departments within your organisation. Check whether suppliers have a sustainable palm oil policy.
- Inform suppliers of your palm oil procurement policy.
- Review suppliers’ commitments to CSPO and ensure that they are in line with your policy requirements.
- Change suppliers.
- Formalise this process and develop a palm oil procurement procedure.
- Monitor, measure, and report on your success
Twycross Zoo palm oil procurement policy
Twycross Zoo’s mission is to be a leading Zoo in worldwide conservation actions preserving endangered animals and their habitats.
The Zoo also has a strong history in supporting various in situ conservation projects worldwide.
Twycross Zoo is highly concerned about the deforestation caused by conventional palm oil production and aims to implement a sustainable palm oil policy for all products purchased by the Zoo containing palm oil.
The Zoo believes, that boycotting palm oil is not a long term solution, as it would increase demands for other, less efficiently produced vegetable oils.
By purchasing sustainably produced palm oil, we can influence the market and support local palm oil growers and mills to be more transparent and to produce palm oil in a more responsible way for the environment and local communities.
- Twycross Zoo palm oil policy:
Twycross Zoo is working towards achieving 100% sourcing of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) by the round table of sustainable palm oil by the end of 2017. Whenever available TZ aims to purchase products containing identity preserved, segregated or at least mass-balanced CSPO. If certified palm oil is not available for this product (e.g. for non-food products), the Book and Claim/Greenpalm option is accepted.
- All products purchased by Twycross Zoo and sold by Twycross Zoo will be reviewed yearly to identify palm oil content: Food, Animal feed, gift shop products, cleaning products.
- Twycross Zoo will inform its suppliers of its palm oil procurement policy.
- The suppliers’ commitments to CSPO will be reviewed to ensure that they are in line with Twycross Zoo’s policy requirements. TZ wants to encourage suppliers to use CSPO in their products or at least to cover their use of conventional produced palm oil with GreenPalm certificates.
- If necessary, TZ will change suppliers to meet the palm oil policy.
- TZ will formalise this process and develop a palm oil procurement procedure for new products or suppliers.
- TZ will monitor and report on the success of the palm oil policy.
In addition to the palm oil procurement policy, Twycross Zoo wants to increase its efforts to raise public awareness for problems related to palm oil production (e.g. palm oil plantation, education program).
Use of palm oil in our eateries
All cooking oil in the main kitchen is 100% vegetable oil. “rape-seed” No palm oil added. All Cooking oil in the fish bar is fry-max – this is the leading all vegetable frying fat for the fish frying trade with an enviable reputation for quality and consistency built over 60 years. Frymax is an additive free, longer lasting product delivering perfect performance time after time. Frymax is produced using the finest refined and deodorised oils which are subject to a series of strict analytical tests ensuring that it is of the highest quality and adheres to tight specifications. The raw materials used in Frymax are fully sustainable and have been certified to come from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)-certified production units. The crude oils are fully traceable under the “segregated” (SG) supply chain system.
- BIAZA Palm oil Procurement guidelines, September 2015
- Sustainable production of palm oil, UK statement, October 2012
- UK Consumption of Sustainable Palm Oil, October 2015
- RSPO Principles and Criteria for the Production of Sustainable Palm Oil, 2013
- WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard, Measuring the Progress of Palm Oil Buyers, 2013