03/09/2018

Bristol Zoo Gardens launches sustainable palm oil project

​A new effort to promote the use of sustainable palm oil has been launched by Bristol Zoological Society.

Visitors to Bristol Zoo Gardens are being asked to join its new campaign to thank UK supermarkets which use sustainable palm oil in their own-brand products.

They are also being asked to send ‘thank you’ emails to three major chains – M&S, Waitrose and Co-op, which use sustainable palm oil, and encourage them to label their sustainable own-brand products.

Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world with approximately 60 million tonnes produced each year, but when produced unsustainably it can have negative consequences on the environment and biodiversity.

Katie Major, conservation psychologist and campaigns manager at Bristol Zoological Society, said: “We are committed to promoting a world where palm oil is 100 per cent sustainably produced.

“We are working hard to shift the demand from non-sustainable to sustainable palm oil and believe that all products containing sustainable palm oil should be clearly labelled.”

She added: “We are doing this by working with leading UK supermarkets which use certified sustainable palm oil in their own brand products.”

The project is a partnership between Bristol Zoological Society and We The Curious. Members of the public can join the campaign and find out more by visiting www.supportingspo.org

Cultivated from the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), the majority of palm oil is produced in Southeast Asia, although in recent years oil palm plantations have been expanding rapidly in Africa as well as Central and South America.

Due to its high yield, producing up to 10 times more oil per hectare than any other crop in the world, the demand for it is increasing. This high demand has resulted in palm oil being produced non-sustainably, causing an array of negative environmental and social consequences, including mass deforestation, biodiversity loss and complex human welfare issues.

Fortunately, sustainably produced palm oil limits or eliminates these issues while benefiting people and aiding economies. Currently only 19 per cent of palm oil is certified as sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

Bristol Zoological Society is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.

For more information about sustainable palm oil, visit: www.supportingspo.org

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