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Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees.
It’s cheap and efficient making it the world’s most widely used vegetable oil –
and global consumption is rising.

Palm oil is used in the production of foods such as cake, chocolate, biscuits, margarine and frying fats. It is also found in cosmetics, soap, shampoo, cleaning products and can be used as a biofuel. Up to 50% of products in an average UK supermarket now contain palm oil!

The growing palm oil industry and unsustainable production of palm oil is one of the biggest threats facing the forests and wildlife of places like Borneo and Sumatra – and demand is continuing to increase.  We can make a big difference in protecting wildlife by tackling the issue of unsustainable palm oil production.

Forest habitats are being lost, animals are losing their homes and carbon is being released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.  We’re working with partners all over the world to promote sustainable palm oil production but we can ALL do something to make a difference.

Every food product sold to the public in the UK that contains palm oil must have ‘palm oil’ listed on the packaging, however not all products state whether their palm oil is certified sustainable. There is a list that contains products and brands that you can buy that have sustainable palm oil in them, which you can download and use when doing your shopping.


What exactly is sustainable palm oil?

  • There are various definitions of sustainable palm oil. Malaysia and Indonesia have mandatory standards in-country, but the most widely recognised scheme is the one regulated by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a voluntary scheme.

  • Palm oil produced according to these standards as of 2018, is required to be deforestation-free.

  • Sustainable palm oil is palm oil grown in a way that reduces the impact on biodiversity and the environment  and adheres to high standards of human rights.


If it has such a negative effect on the environment, shouldn’t I avoid palm oil and switch to an alternative oil?

  • A boycott of palm oil is often spoken of as a solution to this conservation challenge. It’s important to remember however that all agriculture as an impact on the environment.

  • Palm oil is incredibly efficient, and is the highest-yielding vegetable oil crop.

  • Palm oil supplies 35% of the world’s vegetable oil on just 10% of the land allocated to oil crops (1).

  • Oil palm produces up to nine times more oil per unit area than other major oil crops (1), so a switch to another type of edible vegetable oil (such as rapeseed oil) would require up to nine times as much land to produce the same yield. This will increase deforestation and other impacts.

  • A blanket boycott of palm oil could drive the price of palm oil down. This could increase demand, especially in markets which have less interest in sustainability and are bigger markets than the UK and Europe. This reduces the incentive to produce environmentally sustainable palm oil.

  • In producing countries, millions of people work in the palm oil sector. Palm oil plays an important role in the reduction of poverty in these areas. In Indonesia, over 4.5 million people earn their living from palm oil production. Stopping the production of palm oil altogether would create significant problems for these people who support their families by working in this industry.

  • If we don’t demand sustainable palm oil then the producers won’t have motivation to create it – we need to be part of the solution.


What species are impacted by palm oil?

193 critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable species are impacted globally by palm oil (1).  One of these animals is the orangutan, of which all three species are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.150,000 Bornean orangutans are thought to have been lost over the past 16 years, with oil palm being one of the main risks. Find out more on the IUCN website.


We say that palm oil contributes to the economy in Indonesia and Malaysia – but how true is this?

  • Oil palm plantations are owned by a mixture of large companies and small holders (60% to 40% respectively). 5million people in Indonesia are employed through plantations. Palm oil is 11% of Indonesia’s export earnings (1/3 of this being small holders).

All information above is provided by Chester Zoo (Act For Wildlife)

You Can visit their page for more up to date information and follow their amazing projects. 

Is your School learning about the Rainforest, Deforestation, Conservation and looking for something amazing to capture the children's imaginations? 

Our educational workshops are solution focused and highlight how pupils have the power to protect rainforests both collectively and individually; for example, altering purchasing habits of products with sustainable palm oil.
Louie's Jungle School Educational workshop.



Look,It's Louie and #Help Louie really would like to build up a great partnership with organisations in this field and help support them in any way we can. If you think your organisation would benefit from our support, please get in contact with us.

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