The future for tigers can sometimes seem bleak, but every single day you make an impact on the planet and there are simple choices you can make to ensure it’s a positive one.
Sadly, rainforests around the world have experienced devastating losses, being cleared to make way for ever-expanding unsustainable oil palm plantations, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.
Palm oil has a pretty bad reputation, provoking images of tigers and orang-utans being bulldozed from their homes across South East Asia. But the oil itself is not the problem – the problem lies with how and where it has been produced.
We all know the importance of using environmentally-sustainable products and the good news is that palm oil is no different. If it’s grown sustainably, palm oil production can benefit local communities, and help to protect valuable species and forests.
Because there is plenty of bad news filling your news feed at the moment, let’s focus on some GOOD things about sustainable palm oil and how you can help save tigers!
Palm Oil grows very efficiently, which is GOOD to help to feed the world’s growing population.
Palm oil is a highly productive oil when compared to alternative vegetable oils. The advantage of palm oil compared to oils such as coconut, soybean and rapeseed is the high production rate per hectare, combined with the relatively small amount of energy, fertiliser and pesticides needed. This means that crops for alternative oils require larger amounts of land to produce equivalent amounts of oil, leading to more deforestation.
So instead of switching oils, how do we make sure the palm oil we are using is grown sustainably?
There is such a thing as GOOD palm oil!
Whilst it is the overly simplistic message about ‘bans’ that always manage to get the headlines, the reality is that the future of orang-utans, tigers and all of the other wildlife that are impacted by palm oil depends on an actual solution.
This is where the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) comes in. The RSPO is an international group of palm oil producers, palm oil buyers, and environmental and social groups including Taronga, working to define, implement and promote better practices for sustainable palm oil production.
They set principles and criteria around transparency, compliance with laws and regulations, and environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, that growers have to meet to be able to see their palm oil as Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). It’s up to us to make sure that retailers and manufacturers only use CSPO in their products.
Companies and retailers are making the change to GOOD palm oil
When you talk, they listen. Luckily, there are many companies in Australia that use 100% Certified and Sustainable Palm Oil and more are making the switch.
Joining the likes of Ferrero Australia and Arnott’s, Mondelez Australia (makers of Cadbury chocolate) are one of the latest companies to transform their supply chain shifting all of their palm oil to Segregated Certified Sustainable Palm Oil – the highest grade of certified sustainable palm oil currently available. It’s changes like this that we need to celebrate as they will make the world of difference to tigers.
Let’s encourage more companies to use 100% Certified and Sustainable Palm Oil so that when you are shopping, you can choose tiger friendly products.
You can choose GOOD Palm Oil when you shop
There is so much information available when it comes to ethical shopping and it’s not always easy to make the right choice, but it has never been more important.
Palm oil is found in roughly half the packaged products sold in supermarkets including favourite snack foods like ice cream, cookies, crackers, chocolate products, cereals, doughnuts and potato chips. In fact, palm oil is likely present in some form in nearly every room of your home.
So, are you ready to protect Sumatran Tigers? Here’s what you can do:
- Choose brands that use 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil
- Visit the WWF Palm Oil scorecard, select your favourite products and then show your support for those companies who are taking the right action to protect tigers
- Share the news with your friends, there is such a thing as good palm oil
Want a GOOD future for tigers? Our vision is that 100% of all products in Australia are deforestation-free.
We congratulate the Australian companies that already using 100% Certified and Sustainable Palm Oil. Over 130,000 emails have been sent to companies through Taronga’s Tiger Trek experience to express this thanks. And we will continue to work on your behalf to encourage others to make the switch. Together we can champion for a GOOD future with sustainable palm oil that conserves forests, protects species, and secures livelihoods.
By Media Relations, Taronga Conservation Society Australia