Our Position on Palm Oil

Chester Zoo’s mission is to prevent extinction, and for over 80 years we've dedicated ourselves to protecting biodiversity and fighting to save species from extinction.

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 to use and sell food products which contain only sustainable palm oil.

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

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