Our Position on Palm Oil

Chester Zoo’s mission is to be a major force in conserving biodiversity worldwide.

Chester Zoo’s mission is to be a major force in conserving biodiversity worldwide. We recognise that an ever increasing demand for natural resources is putting tremendous pressure on ecosystems and wildlife globally. We are committed to improving environmental performance, including sustainable resource use, in all of our business operations.

Chester Zoo is concerned about the deforestation, loss of biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions which result from the unsustainable production of palm oil.

We recognise the importance of the role of the palm oil industry to the economy in developing countries and acknowledge that as the cheapest to produce, most high yielding and versatile vegetable oil on the market, transforming the market to a sustainable and traceable supply of palm oil is the most responsible path. We believe boycotting palm oil would increase demand for other less efficient edible oils and have even greater environmental impacts.

Creating a market for Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) is the first step to ensuring that the palm oil industry impacts as little as possible on the biodiversity of the regions it is grown in. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has set the most widely recognised certification standards; we support this scheme but urge the RSPO to further enhance the scheme to move swiftly towards ‘deforestation free’ through a traceable and transparent process. We are encouraged by advanced schemes such as RSPO+ and the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG).

Our ethical business policy sets out guidelines for our own sustainable procurement. We have taken steps to remove unsustainable palm oil from our supply chain through annual supplier audits which ensure we meet our policy. We support RSPO CSPO that is Identity Preserved, Segregated or Mass-balance (or mixed) but are keen to see the industry adopt 100% physical sustainable palm oil (see appendix 1). We acknowledge that for non-food products, Book and Claim/Greenpalm is an acceptable short term solution where no other alternative is currently available.

Chester Zoo is committed to supporting the market transformation to a fully sustainable palm oil supply through engaging with various stakeholders locally, nationally and globally to find solutions to this conservation problem and to continue to influence many sectors in the palm oil supply chain and promote the use of sustainable palm oil, whilst also encouraging manufacturers and suppliers we work with to take steps beyond the criteria of RSPO. Through our field conservation programmes, we will partner organisations who are committed to protecting the biodiversity of areas impacted by unsustainable palm oil production and are working with companies on the ground in palm oil producing countries to achieve sustainable production.

We recognise that increasing the demand for CSPO is essential and remain committed to actively promoting and raising awareness of sustainable palm oil use to a wider audience through our education and marketing channels and through Chester Zoo’s Sustainable Palm Oil Challenge.

*Our position statement refers to food products, animal feed, cleaning and personal care products. We will continuously review this policy

The RSPO has 4 approved supply chain models for its certified sustainable palm oil (1)

  • Identity preserved - The oil delivered to the end user is traceable to the particular mill and its supply base.
  • Segregated - The oil delivered to the end user comes only from certified sources. Oils from different certified sources can be mixed.
  • Mass balance - Certified oil is tracked throughout the supply chain. It can be mixed with non-certified oil but the volumes of each are tracked and the correct proportions are sold as certified and non-certified.
  • Book and claim - Certificate trading, where an oil mill can gain credits for volumes of certified oil produced and sell these to an end user. This is independent of the physical supply chain.

(1) DEFRA UK Statement on Sustainable Palm Oil, November 2013

Our latest palm oil news

08/11/16

Getting close to the largest reptilian on the planet

Find out how remote controlled planes are aiding conservation work in Borneo.

  • Biodiversity Surveys and Ecological Research
  • Human-wildlife Conflict
  • Palm oil
  • South East Asia

27/10/16

“We can make things better…”

Watch this film to see what Chester Zoo's field conservation manager, Cat Barton, and marketing manager, Jenny Tegg, got up to on their recent trip to Borneo and meet some of the HUTAN team who are working on the frontline of conservation in Borneo.

  • South East Asia
  • Orangutans
  • Birds
  • Palm oil
  • Conservation Breeding and Management

12/10/16

What is a sustainable oil palm plantation?

Find out more as we uncover the reality of sustainable oil palm plantations.

  • Palm oil
  • Livelihoods and Sustainable Development
  • Orangutans
  • South East Asia

10/10/16

From Chester Zoo to Borneo

The recent trip was a great opportunity to talk about current conservation challenges, progress made so far and to look forward at future opportunities where we can help make a difference.

  • Orangutans
  • Palm oil
  • South East Asia
  • Visitor and Community Engagement
  • Livelihoods and Sustainable Development

06/10/16

How are we making a difference in Borneo?

For over 10 years we've been partnering with HUTAN - Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation programme to protect the forests and wildlife of the Kinabatangan region of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

  • Palm oil
  • Orangutans
  • South East Asia
  • Livelihoods and Sustainable Development
  • Visitor and Community Engagement

18/08/16

My 1,000 Mile Marine Month for Act for Wildlife

We’d like to introduce you to Ross Edgley, one of our amazing Act for Wildlife supporters.

  • Orangutans
  • Palm oil