The conservation organisations listed below are committed to driving the palm oil industry in the right direction, and support a move to sustainable palm oil and not a blanket boycott.
Palm oil produced according to the standards set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) or Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG), as of 2018, is required to be deforestation-free. Manufacturers, retailers and traders all over the world have made bold commitments to removing deforestation from their supply chains – some are making swifter progress than others towards meeting these commitments. There are no quick fixes, but the following actions will go a long way to cleaning up the palm oil industry:
- Palm oil producers must stop converting forests, peatlands and other sensitive natural habitats to oil palm plantations. Instead, they should increase yields on existing plantations, and any expansion should be restricted to degraded land that is not classified as High Conservation Value or High Carbon Stock. They also need to be transparent about their production methods and avoid labour, land and human rights violations.
- Companies manufacturing or selling products made with palm oil and its derivatives need to investigate their suppliers and only source palm oil from responsible growers, ensuring their supply chain is traceable, and communicating honestly with their customers about their progress on their journey to using solely sustainable palm oil.
- We expect the RSPO and its members to adhere to the criteria and take action when there is evidence of non-compliance.
- Consumers can support retailers and manufacturers which are committed to removing deforestation from their products, join social media campaigns to drive the industry in the right direction, and support conservation organisations who are working to break the link between palm oil and deforestation.
There is no denying that the rapid expansion of the palm oil industry over the last 30 years has had a catastrophic environmental and social impact across Southeast Asia, South America and Africa. Consumers all over the world have been horrified to learn about the destructive practices rife within the industry, and the orangutan has become an emblem for the clash between development and conservation.
Boycotting palm oil is a legitimate expression of consumers’ social and environmental concerns, but the question we urge individuals and businesses to ask themselves is:
Will this action help wildlife, forests and communities?
The problem with a blanket boycott is that it punishes indiscriminately. It removes the market for palm oil from those companies which are making genuine efforts and progress towards sustainability, as well as those which aren’t. And if we remove the market for sustainable palm oil, we also remove the incentive for companies to abide by the better management practices which reduce the footprint of the industry – in terms of impacts on wildlife, forests, climate and human rights.
A blanket boycott of palm oil could lead to the following unintentional consequences:
- More deforestation, not less
If the international market for palm oil disappears, palm oil companies and smallholder farmers alike could switch to producing an alternative crop. Oil palms are the most productive oil crop in the world, producing around 35% of global vegetable oil supplies on less than 10% of the total land under oil crops . A switch to another type of edible vegetable oil (such as soybean oil) would require up to nine times as much land to produce the same yield. This will increase natural habitat loss, species loss and other impacts.
- Increasing demand
A blanket boycott of palm oil could drive the price of palm oil down. This could increase demand, especially in markets which have less interest in sustainability. This reduces the incentive to produce environmentally sustainable palm oil.
All agriculture has an impact: bananas, beef, cane sugar, chocolate, coconuts, coffee, pineapples, soybeans, tea and vanilla are all produced in previously forested tropical areas.
With over 4.5 million people in Indonesia alone relying on the palm oil industry as their primary source of income, palm oil is here to stay. What we need to do is ensure that it is cultivated in the least damaging way possible. Oil palms do not need to be grown at the expense of forests and other sensitive natural habitats. Instead we need to break the link between development and the degradation of natural ecosystems.
The conservation organisations committed to driving the palm oil industry in the right direction, and support a move to sustainable palm oil and not a blanket boycott are:
|Sumatran Orangutan Society||San Diego Zoo Global||Orana Wildlife Park||Great Plains Zoo|
|Orangutan Land Trust||Conservation Medicine||Detroit Zoological Society||Zoo Knoxville|
|Chester Zoo||Houston Zoo||Lubee Bat Conservancy||Santa Barbara Zoo|
|WWF||Copenhagen Zoo||Perth Zoo||Verify Humanity|
|Conservation International||The Living Rainforest||Oregon Zoo||Audubon Nature Institute|
|World Land Trust||Beauval Nature||Wildlife Conservation Network||Zoo New England|
|Jane Goodall Institute Australia||Naples Zoo||Jenkinson’s Aquarium||WildCats Conservation Alliance|
|Borneo Futures||Zoos Victoria||Oklahoma City Zoo||Borneo Rhino Alliance|
|Yayasan Orangutan Sumatera Lestari||Association of Zoos and Aquariums||Zoos South Australia||Save the Orangutan|
|Global Canopy||Woodland Park Zoo||Columbus Zoo||Lincoln Park Zoo|
|Hutan KOCP||British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums||Orangutan Republik Foundation||Cheyenne Mountain Zoo|
|Borneo Nature Foundation||Wild Planet Trust||Seratu Aatai||Crocodiles of the World|
|Earthworm Foundation||Wildlife Reserves Singapore||Borneo Child Aid||Indianapolis Zoo|
|Zoological Society of London||Dartmoor Zoological Society||PM Haze||Toronto Zoo|
|Solidaridad||Taronga Conservation Society Australia||Tulsa Zoo||Paradise Wildlife Park/Zoological Society of Hertfordshire|
|Orangutan Outreach||Wellington Zoo||Kansas City Zoo||The Big Cat Sanctuary|
|Global Environment Centre||Auckland Zoo||Little Rock Zoo||Aidenvironment Asia|
|Orangutan Veterinary Aid||National Marine Aquarium||Blank Park Zoo||Chicago Zoological Society / Brookfield Zoo|
|Orangutan Conservancy||The Deep||Staten Island Zoo||Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park|
|Danau Girang Field Centre||Bristol Zoological Society||Wild Welfare||Amici della Terra Onlus|
|Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre||National Wildlife Federation||Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium||International Elephant Foundation|
|Borneo Wildlife Preservation||Forever Sabah||Fondation Ensemble|
|Save Orangutans Now||Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP)||Saint Louis Zoo|
|Twycross Zoo||Marwell Wildlife||Ocean Conservation Trust|
|Save the Rhino International||Yorkshire Wildlife Park||Malaysian Primatological Society|
Forest habitats are being lost, animals are losing their homes and carbon is being released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.
We’re working with partners all over the world to promote sustainable palm oil production but we can ALL do something to make a difference.