Last week, a devastating story concerning an orangutan riddled with air gun pellets and her dying baby went viral. As you may have read, the culprit is palm oil. When the ingredient, which is used in thousands of consumer products, is harvested in an irresponsible manner, the environment and other species pay the toll. To prevent additional suffering, a town of 77,000 people in Europe has agreed to eliminate palm oil that is not sustainably-sourced. As a result, Chester is now considered to be the “first sustainable palm oil city” in the world.
The small city in England is now the first city in the world to exclusively source all of their daily goods from sustainable palm oil suppliers. This is a big deal because vegetable oil is used in a variety of products — from food items to cleaning materials to cosmetics. For the initiative, more than 50 schools, businesses, and restaurants switched up their supply chains. Every establishment is now sourcing products that contain palm oil from 100% sustainable sources.
According to a 2001 census, the city of Chester has a population of about 77,000 people. The city is, perhaps, best known for its Chester Zoo. As GoodNewsNetwork reports, the zoo developed an entire “Sustainable Palm Oil City” model based on a framework created by the Sustainable Fish Cities project. The campaign received dozens of endorsements from wildlife organizations and conservation groups. Furthermore, it has inspired other cities to consider similar initiatives.
“This is a major moment in the fight to save orangutans and other wildlife from extinction,” said Cat Barton, Field Programs Manager at Chester Zoo. “A vast array of species are under threat and on the brink of being lost forever, because oil palm plantations are wiping out rainforests to produce the food and household items we all consume every day. But it is not too late. By embracing a more sustainable future, we can stop this crisis.”
“The fact that more than 50 organizations in one city alone have made changes to the products they use – and committed to a 100% sustainable future – shows that the tide is turning,” Barton added.
The news has been applauded by public authorities, including Chris Matheson, MP for the City of Chester. He said, “I am so pleased to have supported this project since the start. I look forward to hearing about other cities in the UK and across the world joining the movement that Chester Zoo has started. This is fabulous news for the zoo, fabulous news for Chester and fabulous news for the planet.”
Not only is unsustainably-harvested palm oil linked with environmental degradation, but the practice also emits dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and encroaches upon the habitats of indigenous people. You can take action by boycotting products that contain unsustainably-harvested palm oil and by sharing this article to raise awareness.
IMAGE CREDIT: Wikipedia