Save clouded leopards while you shop!Did you know that many foods and household products contain palm oil? Check out the labels on the products you buy to see if palm oil is an ingredient. By learning about palm oil and taking our recommended action steps you can make consumer choices that are good for clouded leopards and other Southeast Asian forest wildlife.
What Is Palm Oil?
Palm oil is a form of vegetable oil produced from the fruit of the oil palm tree that you likely eat or use every day. It is a common ingredient in many foods, household cleaners, cosmetics and other personal care products. Palm oil is the most widely produced edible oil in the world and is valued for its heart-healthy properties. Most commercial palm oil is grown in Southeast Asia, primarily in the countries of Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Problem with Palm Oil
Palm oil is an agricultural crop, not a natural part of the Southeast Asia rainforest. Vast areas of tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia are being cut down to make way for large scale oil palm plantations. This leaves animals like Asian elephants, clouded leopards, tigers, tapirs, orangutans and gibbons without places to live and find food. Land for palm oil production is sometimes taken forcibly from indigenous people who traditionally owned the land.
Certified Sustainable Palm Oil
Some companies produce palm oil in ways that are less damaging to rain forests and wildlife and better support the economy and needs of local people. Known as sustainable palm oil, this product is more forest friendly and provides lasting income for farmers in Asia.
The RSPO - the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil - is the group that sets standards for certifying that palm oil is produced sustainably. The RSPO is made up of many members including social and government organizations, companies and businesses. The RSPO’s principles and guidelines address both forest protection and ensuring the working conditions and health of plantation workers and their families. Visit www.rspo.org for more information.
You can help!
Choose Sustainable Palm Oil• Use these shopping guides to learn what products are made with sustainable palm oil:
Palm oil shopping guide
Candy shopping guide