Anyone can support the production of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO). Palm oil is present in over 50% of packaged products on supermarket shelves, from bread and biscuits to cosmetics and detergents, but it can be difficult to know whether the palm oil used in these products comes from a responsible source.
As part of their Act For Wildlife initiative, our friends at Chester Zoo have made this video about what you can do to support sustainable palm oil.
In making daily decisions, you can increase demand for products made with CSPO, and in doing so, you are helping to ensure that sustainable palm oil becomes the norm.
Achieving certification is an expensive process for many palm oil producers, especially small-scale farmers. Buying products approved by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) can provide grower members with extra support to work towards raising their standards and getting all their plantations certified.
Search the RSPO website to find products using the RSPO trademark, or download the RSPO Trademark App to find out which RSPO Certified products are available in the supermarkets near you anywhere in the world.
By purchasing products with the Trademark logo, you support the growth of sustainable palm oil.
In the UK, Chester Zoo has compiled a list of branded products and manufacturers who use sustainable palm oil. Check the list to see if any of the products you normally buy are included. If not, you may be able to find a similar substitute, or try something new!
Check out Rainforest Foundation UK’s palm oil shopping guide compiled in association with Ethical Consumer magazine. In their list, products that don’t contain palm oil automatically receive the maximum score. However, there are several reasons why boycotting palm oil is a less responsible action than supporting sustainable palm oil.
For US-based consumers, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo have created a sustainable palm oil shopping guide phone app covering over 6,000 products, rated for their use of sustainable palm oil. Read Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s case study: Raising Palm Oil Awareness to see what else they are doing and how you can get involved.
WWF’s 2016 Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard tracks 130 major retailers, food service companies and consumer goods and other manufacturers worldwide on their use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO).
The Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2014-15 Palm Oil Scorecard scores various American fast food, packaged food, personal care and store brands, and the 30 companies that own them, on the strength of their commitments to using deforestation-free palm oil.
Greenpeace’s 2016 Palm Oil Scorecard assesses 14 multinational consumer goods manufacturers on their progress towards responsible sourcing, transparent reporting and industry reform.
For consumers based in Australia and New Zealand, Palm Oil Investigations has created a barcode scanner which identifies whether products contain certified sustainable palm oil and if the brand has a commitment to no deforestation.
Since December 2014, manufacturers in the EU are no longer able to hide the presence of palm oil in food labels. This will give you the power to check whether the food products you buy on a daily basis contain palm oil.
If you’re not sure if a product contains palm oil you can check the ingredient list – palm oil can appear as one of the many names listed below. Contact the manufacturer to ask if the product contains CSPO.
These ingredients are definitely palm oil or derived from palm oil:
Hydrated Palm Glycerides
Palm Fruit Oil
Palm Kernel Oil
Saponified Elaeis Guineensis
Sodium Palm Kernelate
These ingredients are either derived from palm oil or coconut oil:
Fatty alcohol sulphates
Isopropyl or Isopropyl Palmitate
Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (in almost everything that foams)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
These ingredients are often derived from palm oil, but could be derived from other vegetable oils:
“Other vegetable oils” (may include palm oil)
Cocoa Butter Equivalent (CBE)
Cocoa Butter Substitute (CBE)
Emulsifiers (some can be palm oil derived)
Sodium Lauryl Lactylate
If you’re concerned about other issues as well as sustainable palm oil, visit Oxfam’s Behind the Brands scorecard for information about 10 of the largest global consumer goods manufacturers and their policies on land, women, farmers, workers, climate, transparency, and water. You can also contact the companies via the site and demand that they do more to improve their performance on these issues.
- Cutting deforestation out of the palm oil supply chain – company scorecard by Greenpeace
- Greasy palms – palm oil, the environment and big business
- Greasy Palms: European buyers of Indonesian palm oil
- RILA Releases 2015 Retail Sustainability Report
- RSPO 3rd EURT – Interactive Conference Report
- Saving tropical forests by knowing what we consume
Last updated: 27/01/2017