Palm Oil is a popular and versatile vegetable oil that is found in approximately 50 per cent of packaged household products. In recent decades rainforests around the world have being cleared to make way for ever-expanding unsustainable oil palm plantations, destroying the habitats of critically endangered wildlife, including the Sumatran tiger. However, when grown sustainably, palm oil production can benefit local communities and help to protect valuable species and forests.
At Taronga we envision a world where all products use sustainable palm oil and create a secure future for wildlife, people and the environment.
What is Palm Oil and why is it so popular?
Palm Oil is a type of vegetable oil that is extracted from the palm fruit that grows on oil palm plants. Palm oil is found in roughly half the packaged products sold in supermarkets including favourite snack foods like ice cream, cookies, crackers, chocolate products, cereals, doughnuts and potato chips. It’s also found in many personal care items and household cleaning products. In fact, palm oil is likely present in some form in nearly every room of your home.
Global consumption of palm oil has increased tenfold since 1980 and now stands at approximately 50 million tonnes per year, with forecasts of up to 50 per cent further growth by 2050.
Palm oil is favoured as it is so versatile, including:
- It holds colour well
- Doesn’t melt at high temperatures
- It makes things creamy (like ice cream)
- It is solid at room temperature
- It is free of trans fats
How does unsustainable Palm Oil production impact tigers and other wildlife?
Oil palm trees grow well in tropical areas and most palm oil plantations are found in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, rainforests around the world have experienced devastating losses, being cleared to make way for ever-expanding unsustainable oil palm plantations. The expansion of unsustainable palm oil plantations is a major driver of deforestation, destroying the habitats of critically endangered wildlife species, releasing vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and, in some cases, displacing local forest-dwelling communities.
Indonesia has some of the last remaining tropical forests on earth, home to the beautiful Sumatran Tiger. With as few as 400 left in the wild, this species is in real danger of disappearing forever. Indonesia’s rainforests cover one per cent of the Earth’s land area but they are incredibly biodiverse, being home to 10 percent of the world’s known plant species, 12 percent of mammal species - including endangered orang-utans and critically endangered Sumatran tigers and rhinos - and 17 percent of all known bird species.
Check out this short video from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil on how sustainable palm oil can support our precious wildlife.
The oil itself is not the problem – the problem lies with how and where it has been produced. Choosing brands that use 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) is the best way to protect the environment and the people and wildlife that call it home. Taronga has already made the switch to 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil in the products we sell in our food outlets.
Take a look at this short video to learn more about sustainable palm oil.
Who are the RSPO and what is CSPO?
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is the most high profile and best represented organisation involved in certifying palm oil as sustainable, using standards based on an evolving set of Principles and Criteria (P&Cs) addressing a range of issues, including the environmental and social impacts of palm oil.
Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) is oil that comes from plantations that have been independently certified as meeting the standards of the RSPO, and is the best way to protect the environment and the people and wildlife that live in it.
Why can't we simply replace palm oil?
Replacing palm oil with other types of vegetable oil, including soybean and rapeseed, would require much larger amounts of land to be used as palm trees produce 4-10 times more oil than other crops per unit of cultivated land. When grown sustainably, palm oil production can benefit local communities, and help to protect valuable species and forests. Palm oil has contributed to economic growth and development across many countries throughout the tropics.
Taronga's Legacy Commitment
In 2016, Taronga launched its legacy for the future and for the wild, dedicating the next decade to the conservation of ten critical species, known as our Legacy Species. The Sumatran Tiger is one of these species, and Taronga is proud to be part of a regional conservation management plan for Sumatran Tigers including breeding, research, fundraising and community action to support sustainably produced palm oil.
What you can do
We all have a part to play to protect Sumatran tigers and the other species that call tropical rainforests home. Here are some simple actions you can take to be a Tiger Guardian.
Do a home audit
Check out the items in your pantry and cleaning cupboards using our audit sheet.
Choose 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil
Visit the WWF Palm Oil Scorecard to find which products use CSPO.
Share the news of Good Palm Oil
Tell your family and friends that there is such a thing as good palm oil.
Track your impact
At Taronga Zoo’s Tiger Trek we celebrate companies that use CSPO in their products. The more companies transform their supply chain, the more Australians can enjoy their favourite treat free from deforestation.
To date over 135,000 messages of support from guests have been sent to some of Australia’s favourite and tiger-friendly brands. When you next visit Taronga Zoo, send your message of support at the Tiger Trek Supermarket.
Together, we have sent a loud and clear message to companies that use 100% Certified and Sustainable Palm Oil to say thank you for doing their part to protect the environment, people and wildlife. You can read direct messages from companies to your collective emails here.
It’s clear that one action can make the world of difference to tigers.
A message from Ferrero
Ferrero congratulates and thanks Taronga Zoo’s guests for the email communications recognising the importance of using sustainably sourced Palm Oil.
Ferrero (makers of Nutella, Ferrero Rocher and Kinder) only uses 100% sustainable and RSPO-certified segregated palm oil. The oil is used to ensure that our products have the right consistency and structure and does not interfere with the characteristic flavours of the other ingredients. The certified palm oil that Ferrero uses is traceable, which means that it is kept separated from conventional palm oil along the whole supply chain. Segregation also allows us to identify the mill of origin of the palm oil, and thanks to the e-trace online system we can trace the physical trade of certified RSPO oil along the supply chain. Since March 2018, Ferrero publishes in the News section of our global corporate website www.ferrerocsr.com a full list of mills it sources from.
Ferrero has moved beyond certification by adopting a ‘No Deforestation’ policy, the Ferrero Palm Oil Charter. It is a robust, publicly available and time-bound implementation plan, working extensively with our suppliers together with third party auditor Bureau Veritas. We engage in this process to ensure our palm oil does not contribute to deforestation, species extinction, high greenhouse gas emissions or human rights violations. As a member of POIG (Palm Oil Innovation Group) since 2015, our Palm Oil Charter is also systematically based on the POIG Charter and its Verification Indicators.
Ferrero Australia voluntarily made the decision to declare its use of palm oil as a vegetable oil on our labels to provide transparent information to consumers. Detailed information on our palm oil sourcing and sustainable agricultural practices are available in our CSR report at www.ferrerocsr.com.
We hope this provides some reassurance and clarity around the use of palm oil in our products.
A message from Woolworths
Woolworths would like to congratulate Taronga Zoo and their guests on the continued success of the Tiger Trek! Thank you for creating awareness on the importance of responsible shopping choices through an immersive and innovative platform!
We care about forests and want to play our part in conserving them and the wildlife that call them home! That's why we have made a 2020 commitment to achieve net-zero deforestation in our supply chains for high impact commodities such as palm oil, paper, pulp, and timber!
We've made great progress toward meeting this commitment. We've supported the production of sustainable palm oil in all own-brand food since 2015, and have identified palm oil in own-brand non-food. We will be working with our suppliers to increase the uptake of sustainable palm oil derivatives/fractions.
It's one of the many ways we bring a little good to everyone, everyday!
Follow our progress at http://crs.woolworthsgroup.com.au/
A message from Unilever
As a founding member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Unilever strongly supports the need to move with pace to a fully sustainable palm oil industry and we’re committed to sourcing 100% of our palm oil sustainably by the end of 2019.
We know that when palm oil isn’t sustainably sourced it can result in deforestation and degradation of peat land and contribute to the exploitation of people and communities who rely on the palm oil industry for their livelihoods. As part of our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) and aligned with our Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing Policy, we’re working with key suppliers, NGOs and the wider industry to change this.
That’s why last year, Unilever became the first consumer goods company to publicly disclose the suppliers and mills we source from, both directly and indirectly. This marks a major milestone in our continued drive for a more sustainable palm oil industry.
In Australia and New Zealand, we’ve made strong progress on our journey to source 100% traceable and certified sustainable palm oil. Since March 2015, all the palm oil we buy directly for our locally made foods and refreshments has come from traceable, certified (RSPO Segregated) sources. Globally, we sourced 67% of our palm oil and palm kernel oil from physically certified sources in 2018, achieved through a combination of segregated and mass balance supply. For palm oil alone, we reached 81% from physically certified sources.
We’re taking big steps towards greater transparency, but we know there is more work to be done to achieve a truly sustainable palm oil industry and we will continue our efforts to make this a reality. Find out more about our progress here.
A message from IGA (Metcash)
Thank you for taking the time to express your concern about the impact of palm oil in our Community Co product range, which is proudly at home in IGA. Community Co is committed to ensuring all our products contain 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil to minimise our impact on the environment. We are currently working with our suppliers to identify when derivatives of palm oil have been used in order to ensure they are also sustainable.
A message from Peter's
A message from Mars
Want to learn more about how you can help wildlife? Check out our community conservation blog for the latest articles on how we can all be ‘for the wild’.