6 May 2020

Did you know that over 50% of store cupboard products contain palm oil? The unsustainable production of palm oil is one of the BIGGEST threats facing the forests and wildlife of Borneo and Sumatra right now. That’s why, at Chester Zoo, we support the production of SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL.


We’re working together with partners in South East Asia to protect the incredible rainforests that are being threatened by deforestation for agriculture – mainly oil palm production.  By supporting sustainable palm oil plantations, who make a commitment to be deforestation free and create wildlife corridors, we can all make a huge difference to wildlife and our mission of preventing extinction!

Follow our step by step guide to getting your learners involved in our Sustainable Palm Oil Challenge and help them link what’s in their cupboards at home with saving rainforest species around the world. We’ve got over 20 different resources to support learning about palm oil and to inspire your learners to take part in the challenge.


Palm oil may not be a term your learners are familiar with, however we’ve got lots of resources to help introduce the topic. Palm oil is grown in the same areas of the world that you’d find rainforests, so start off by recapping on their knowledge around rainforests and encourage them to do some of their own research around palm oil. 

Let’s start with the basics – what is palm oil? 

Watch ourWhat is Palm Oil? [VIDEO]  

Follow the journey of palm oil from fruit to our supermarket shelves by watching our video about the supply chain. 

Watch here: The supply chain of palm oil [VIDEO] 

There are lots of different people and places involved in the palm oil supply chain, find out some perspectives of some of the people involved.

Take a look at our Palm Oil Perspectives videos

Explore lots of facts about palm oil with our handy poster. 

Download our: Palm oil fact poster  

To get you thinking about all those new words we have a sustainable palm oil word search. 

Try ourSustainable palm oil word search 

Now that you are a palm oil expert, why not make your own palm oil poster to show what you’ve learnt. 

Download our: Sustainable palm oil poster template  

You could include facts about:

  • Where in the world oil palm trees are grown
  • The difference between sustainable and unsustainable palm oil
  • The different people involved in the palm oil production process


Over half of the worlds species live in the rainforest, so it’s a very important ecosystem. The production of unsustainable palm oil can have huge consequences on wildlife. Let’s get thinking about the animals that are affected.  

There are many animals affected by palm oil, these range from orangutans to sun bears to lar gibbons. We have some brilliant fact files to help you find out more about species that live in the rainforest.

To get you started, we have an animal fact file collection featuring a selection of animals affected by unsustainable palm oil production.

Download our: Palm Oil Animal Fact File Collection 

To help you understand the threats rainforest species face, we have a brilliant video to give you an overview.  

Watch our: Palm Oil Perspectives – Wildlife [VIDEO] 

Once you have collected all your researchtry writing your own story or blog about a species affected by unsustainable palm oil production. Use our creative writing collection to bring together all your ideas.

Download our: Creative Writing Collection 

  • As an alternative, you could try drawing your story in the style of a comic book
  • Try writing a story from the perspective of an animal
  • Create some more fact files for other animals affected by palm oil. You could even draw them yourself
  • You can also take a look at the work that Chester Zoo is doing to support wild orangutans and hornbills in South East Asia by searching our news section.



The Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil or RSPO has a list of rules for companies to follow when they are growing palm oil. This certified palm oil protects the environment and the local communities who depend on it for their livelihoods. 

You might have seen their logo on some of the products you can buy in supermarkets. When you see the RSPO logo, you can be sure that the palm oil used in that product is sustainably sourced.

Now it’s time to delve into your cupboards and take a closer look at where palm oil is used!

Buying only products that contain certified sustainable palm oil is an important step in helping to protect animals like orangutans and other species that share their rainforest habitat.

Use our investigation sheet to see what products you can find that contain palm oil in your own cupboards. 

Download our: Sustainable Palm Oil Investigation

Unfortunately not all sustainable palm oil is always labelled, so it can be a bit tricky.  But we’re here to help, we’ve created a sustainable palm oil shopping list so you can find which brands and products contain sustainable palm oil more easily.


Download our: Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping List 

You could:

  • Make a leaflet to help other people choose sustainable palm oil products 
  • Create a quiz to test your family and friends on which products contain sustainable palm oil or not
  • Use old packaging to create a sustainable palm oil shop! 
  • If you’re unsure whether a company uses sustainable palm oil, try researching their policy online


Why not take on our sustainable palm oil challenge! There is lots you can do to help increase the demand for sustainable palm oil and we’d love to see your ideas! 

Can you make one change? Use our template to make your pledge for sustainable palm oil. 

Download our: Sustainable Palm Oil Pledge 

We have some tasty recipes for you to follow which use products with sustainable palm oil.  

Download our: Sustainable Palm Oil Recipe Pack 

Our Palm Oil Conga song tells the story of palm oil, where it’s found, how it’s used, its impact on animals and the environment, and how we can help tackle unsustainable palm oil production. 

Why not learn the words and try out the conga with your family!

Watch ourPalm Oil Conga- Singalong [VIDEO] 

If you play an instrument, download our: Palm Oil Conga – Notation 

You could:
  • Create a sustainable palm oil cooking show where you demonstrate the recipes above
  • Shout “PALM OIL CONGA” and everyone has to stop what they’re doing and make a conga line whilst singing the song! 
  • Get your friends and family to also make pledges – then you’re creating even more conservationists! 
  • Encourage others to check their products at home for the RSPO logo
  • If you find out a company doesn’t use sustainable palm oil when they could be, write a persuasive letter to them explaining why it’s important for wildlife

To help you make the most of our Sustainable Palm Oil Challenge we’ve created this handy teacher’s guide. 

Download our: Sustainable Palm Oil Teacher’s Pack 


Share your work with us on Twitter @LearnatCZ using #ToZooAtHome.

We’d love to see what you come up with!