Zoos unite for sustainable palm oil and iconic species

ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo have joined four other zoos to campaign for the protection of threatened habitats through the promotion of sustainable palm oil.

The statement signed by ZSL, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), Zoos Victoria, Philadelphia Zoo, Chester Zoo and Prague Zoo said the palm oil industry adopting a sustainable model is vital for the survival of species such as the great apes, tigers and tapirs and many others.

The statement said:

“We recognise that the palm oil industry plays an important role in employment and economic development for developing countries, and that moves away from palm oil will likely drive demand elsewhere for potentially less productive vegetable oils with unknown and potentially damaging impacts. We also note that palm oil production is likely to increase and that, as a result of this, areas of High Conservation Value (HCV) in global tropical areas are at risk from poorly managed expansion.

In order to address these challenges, we believe there needs to be a faster transition to a sustainable palm oil model where the standard of ‘sustainability’ adequately protects species and habitats in its implementation.

We therefore:

1. Ask the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and its Biodiversity and HCV working group to increase efforts to ensure that biodiversity protection is adequately addressed within the Standard, is implemented and verified in practise and that the resulting benefits are communicated widely.
2. Welcome and encourage the creation of national initiatives that support 100% sustainable procurement targets in palm oil importing countries.
3. Ask that all companies with palm oil in their supply chain make a firm commitment to not purchase or trade palm oil that is not 100% RSPO certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) and to prioritise a move towards the purchase of fully segregated CSPO in a time-bound manner.
4. Welcome the work of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) sustainable palm oil working group and encourage investors in the palm oil industry to support adherence to the RSPO Standard.
5. Request transparency from oil palm growers in making existing and planned concession site maps available and encourage the adoption of environmental monitoring systems to verify that the best practise principles set out in the RSPO Standard are being implemented.”

The statement coincides with a progress report one year on from the UK government announcing it is working towards achieving a 100% sourcing of credibly certified sustainable palm oil by the end of 2015. Read this report. (90 KB)

Find out more about ZSL's Sustainable Palm Oil work.

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