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WAZA Palm Oil Sumamry Guide

Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil around the world and can be found in about 50% of the products you buy in store, including pre-packaged foods, cosmetics, cleaning supplies and pet food. As an inexpensive and efficient resource, palm oil production has increased from 4.5 million tonnes in 1980 to over 75 million tonnes in 2020. As our global population continues to grow, this is expected to continue to rise by approximately 1.7% per year until 2050.

This unsustainable expansion has driven deforestation (primarily in Southeast Asia), contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, human rights abuses and has put wildlife conservation at stake in some of the world’s most biodiverse hotspots.

However, when you consider the negative impacts of palm oil on biodiversity from a global perspective, there are no simple solutions. Millions of families depend on the palm oil sector in producing countries like Indonesia and Malaysia to reduce poverty. Half of the world’s population uses palm oil in food and if we ban or boycott it, other oils like canola, sunflower, soy or coconut which take up between four to ten times more land will likely take its place.

In recent times, Taronga’s Tiger Trek: Raise Your Palm initiative has driven change through an interactive shopping experience to educate over two million guests on sustainable palm oil ratings and celebrate Australian brands which have already made the transition. For over ten years Zoos Victoria’s Don’t Palm Us Off campaign has promoted the introduction of mandatory palm oil labelling laws for food products in Australia and New Zealand. This has amplified the voices of more than 640 000 Australians calling on government to change and has seen the state of Victoria publicly support palm oil labelling reform and significant industry shifts.

Zoos and aquariums, as respected and trusted voices for conservation are provided the unique opportunity to promote sustainably sourced palm oil and drive innovation. That’s why regardless of the location of your zoo or aquarium and size of your budget, the WAZA Guide to Sourcing Sustainable Palm Oil contains simple steps to help you start changing the way your organisation sources palm oil.
Read the guide