Faye Sherlock, Sustainable Communities Project Officer, Chester Zoo
Unsustainable production of palm oil is wiping out huge areas of rainforest – in order to provide the ingredient for food and household products consumed in the UK and around the world.
Leading conservationists, conservation organisations, wildlife charities and NGOs around the world, backed by detailed scientific research say the best solution to preventing further habitat destruction, protect biodiversity and the livelihoods of people living locally to rainforests, is to use and support deforestation-free sustainable palm oil.
Driving industry change in this direction is vital in preventing further harmful environmental and social impacts.
In 2019 Chester became the world’s very first Sustainable Palm Oil City, with over 50 organisations overhauling their food supply chains and committing to source palm oil – a vegetable oil used in thousands of household products, from entirely sustainable sources. This included restaurants in the city centre such as Chez Jules, takeaways such as Fish & Chips @ Weston Grove, retailers including Just Footprints, and workplace champions such as Hillyer McKeown.
This project has now expanded, and with the support of the Chester Zoo team is being led in communities across the UK, from Dorset to Plymouth, welsh villages, to cities such as Oxford pledging to become Sustainable Palm Oil Communities.
It can be difficult to relate to a distant conservation issue on the other side of the world, such as the loss of Borneo’s wild spaces, but as buyers we can all make a difference through changing our own behaviours and shopping.
As individuals, we can use our buying power to make swaps from unsustainable products to sustainable (use Chester Zoo’s sustainable palm oil shopping list to check brands!), write to companies and ask if they use sustainable palm oil, and finally – use your voice to spread the word! You can also take a look at how to take action through small steps with this step in Giki.
As a business, check your products, contact suppliers and become a Sustainable Palm Oil Champion, ensuring that where you use palm oil it’s from certified physically sustainable sources.
Email SPOCity@chesterzoo.org to receive your free toolkit, guiding you through the process to becoming a more sustainable business!