UK Government Commits to Sustainable Palm Oil as ZSL Launches New Online Resource

As the UK government commits to protecting wildlife and forests by only using sustainable palm oil, ZSL has launched a dedicated website to provide information and tools for everyone from growers to consumers.

The Sustainable Palm Oil Platform, sustainablepalmoil.org , was launched at the annual meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) on Tuesday (October 30) as part of ZSL’s twelve year palm oil project. At the same meeting, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said it would aim to achieve a 100% sourcing of credibly certified sustainable palm oil by the end of 2015.

Environment Minister Richard Benyon said it was “great news for wildlife and forests around the world” but ZSL’s Business and Biodiversity Programme Manager, Elizabeth Clarke urged for a stronger commitment.

She said: “The palm oil industry is one of the greatest drivers of biodiversity loss. The UK has taken an important step in the right direction but we hope that this commitment will be strengthened to reflect the urgency of the situation.”

“Unsustainable and irresponsible palm oil production spells disaster for tropical biodiversity. Whilst we welcome the UK’s recent commitment to sustainable sourcing, the need for more urgent action cannot be emphasised enough. ZSL’s Sustainable Palm oil Platform will help to bring clarity and support for all stakeholders to address this pressing and complicated situation.”

ZSL has been an active member of the RSPO for many years, campaigning for a stronger standard and providing scientific expertise to the Roundtable and its members through its Biodiversity and Oil Palm project.

Oil palm plantations are responsible for the ongoing disappearance of Indonesia's tropical forests and the unique species that live there but their product, the world’s most popular vegetable oil, is extremely profitable.

The Sustainable Palm Oil Platform provides information, case studies, interviews, and links to relevant websites and publications.

ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are also working with other zoos and aquaria to advise and communicate on sustainable palm oil procurement.

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