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Twycross Zoo is a registered charity (number 501841) which exists to support conservation, education and research.

Palm Oil: Are your Christmas essentials sustainable?

You may have heard a lot about palm oil in the news recently – but what is it, why is it important and where can you find it?

Palm oil is a widely used vegetable oil in many household products throughout the world such as make-up products, pizza dough, instant noodles, shampoo, ice cream, detergent, margarine, chocolate, cookies, biodiesel, soap, packaged bread – and the demand for it is increasing every year.  

It is a critical part of the economy, particularly in Malaysia and Indonesia with millions of people earning their living from farming it.

However, big areas of tropical rainforests have been destroyed for palm oil plantations, which means habitat loss for numerous endangered and critically-endangered species such as orang utans, tigers, rhinos, elephants and many more. 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.

Scroll down for information on how you can shop sustainably this Christmas

Twycross Zoo’s Palm Oil Policy

Batu with son Basuki, born in 2017. Photo; Phillipa Dobbs

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).  Whenever available we aim to purchase products containing identity preserved, segregated or at least mass-balanced CSPO. Suppliers’ commitments to CSPO are reviewed each year to ensure that they are in line with our policy requirements, 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. As 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. For more information on Twycross zoo’s palm oil policy click here.

How can you shop sustainably this Christmas

Recent EU legislation changes mean “palm oil” must be listed on every product sold in the UK, some of which will state if the palm oil is sustainably sourced or not.

Check your products for their palm oil content and favour products with sustainably sourced palm oil over not sustainably sourced.

If your favourite product or brand does not state if the item contains sustainable palm oil, you should contact them to find out. Facebook and Twitter are great for communicating with companies, but email and letters also work great for this!

Look for these labels on products:

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.

Did you know approximately 19% of worldwide global palm oil is RSPO certified – consumers choosing products/brands which use sustainable palm oil will force other companies and suppliers to switch to sustainable palm oil. 

Products & Brands that use Sustainable Palm Oil

Do you know any other brands using sustainble palm oil? Tweet us @twycrosszoo