Sustainable Palm Oil
What is Palm Oil?
- Palm fruits grow on the African palm oil tree Elaeis guineensis.
- Palm oil is a highly versatile vegetable oil used in everyday items such as foods, cosmetics and cleaning products
Why should we be cautious about the source of the Palm Oil we use?
- Many palm oil plantations have been developed on land that was previously primary rainforests, using methods to clear the land that not only destroy the forest, but all the animals living within it.
- Fires were set to clear the land for many plantations, resulting in loss of habitats, species and pollution of surrounding areas from the smoke.
- There are additional concerns about the illegal use of community land in some countries, and further environmental impact with farming practices.
What is good about Palm Oil?
- Palm oil is a critical part of the economy, particularly in developing countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia where many communities and millions of people earn their living from farming it
- A highly efficient crop: the palm oil tree, has a very high yield, which means that more oil is produced for the area of the land used to farm it, when compared to all other vegetable oils. This is good in terms of land use and also makes palm oil very cheap for our growing human population
The answer: Sustainable palm oil
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 sustainably.
- Boycotting palm oil may have negative effects on local economies and put pressure on land use for other vegetable oils, therefore palm oil must be produced in a sustainable way.
What we are doing at Twycross Zoo
- Twycross Zoo has a palm oil policy to ensure that all products we buy and sell onsite comply with the Certified Sustainable Palm Oil requirements
- We operate a system to ensure new suppliers are checked and no product will be ordered unless it contains only sustainably sourced palm oil, if any at all.
- Since 2016, the team here at Twycross Zoo has been conducting palm oil audits to ensure the products we purchase contain certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) by the round table of sustainable palm oil (RSPO), and if necessary, we will change suppliers to meet the palm oil policy.
- Many species like the critically-endangered Bornean orang utans are affected by deforestation to make way for palm oil plantations. Twycross Zoo is part of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria’s (EAZA) European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for Bornean orang-utans which aim to conserve a genetically healthy population of the species in captivity. We have had great success with our two most recent babies Basuki and Kayan, both born in 2017
“Sustainable palm oil production is comprised of legal, economically viable, environmentally appropriate and socially beneficial management and operations.” – Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), 2017
What can you do?
- As a consumer you can make a difference by choosing to buy products which contain either none or sustainable palm oil
- Check the foods, detergents and other household products that you buy. You can look for these logos:
RSPO Label Ensures products are made with certified palm oil. Palm oil has been produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way.
Green Palm Label Indicates products in support of the transition to certified palm oil.
If your favourite product or brand does not state if the item contains sustainable pal oil, you should contact them to find out. Social media is great for communicating with companies, but email and letters also work great for this.