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 Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) sets standards for certifying that palm oil is produced sustainably. The RSPO is made up of social and government organizations, companies, and businesses. Their principles and guidelines address both forest protection and the 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
Read the label• If your favorite product contains palm oil, contact the manufacturer and ask them to use certified sustainable palm oil.
Ask for the logo• If the manufacturer uses sustainable palm oil, ask them to add the logo to product packaging. Adding a sustainable logo helps consumers make the best choice to protect the environment.
- Download the Palm Oil Fact Sheet
- Download the Kids' Palm Oil Fact Sheet
- Download the Palm Oil Shopping App for your phone, offered by the Cincinnati Zoo
- Download the Sustainable Palm Oil Valentine's Day Candy List
- Visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Palm Oil Crisis website for more information and resources