Sustainable Palm Oil and the Role of Zoos and Aquariums
Palm oil is the most widely-used edible vegetable oil around the world.
Palm oil can be found in about 50% of the products you can buy from a store, including pre-packaged foods, shampoo, chocolate, cosmetics, pet food, and cleaning supplies. Currently about half of people worldwide, predominantly in Asia and Africa, rely on palm oil as the cooking oil of choice.
However, the unsustainable establishment of mass oil palm plantations is harming the environment, habitats and the species that inhabit those lands.
Zoos and aquariums are respected and trusted voices for conservation and, increasingly, for sustainability. This provides us with a unique opportunity to promote the issue of sustainably sourced palm oil. Our communities expect us to lead the way in the drive for sustainability. Amending our own business practices can enhance employee engagement, drive innovation, enhance community relations and offer marketing opportunities. We can lead from the front by our own practices and also encourage our visitors to change their own behaviour. Together we can make a significant difference for wildlife.
In November 2017, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The MoU lists seven specific goals, four of which are the responsibility of WAZA and its zoo and/or aquarium members.
A Short Guide – Sourcing Sustainable Palm Oil at Your Zoo or Aquarium
This short guide was comprised by a subgroup of the WAZA Conservation and Environmental Sustainability Committee to help WAZA members understand and support the WAZA – RSPO Memorandum of Understanding regarding sourcing sustainable palm oil. Regardless of the location of your zoo and/or aquarium or the size of your budget, this guide contains simple steps to help you to start changing the way your organisation thinks about and sources palm oil.