The problem with palm oil

cropped cloudie facing leftSumatran tigers, clouded leopards, and a host of other wildlife species depend on tropical forests. In Southeast Asia these forests are rapidly being cut down to make way for our growing appetite for palm oil. But we can take action to save wild cats and other forest creatures by asking companies to commit to producing and using palm oil responsibly.

PAWS FOR THE CAUSE today and help wild cats today by learning about responsible palm oil. A moment in your life could save theirs!


Palm oil pic 1Palm 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 thousands of foods, household cleaners, cosmetics, and other personal care products. Most commercial palm oil is grown in Southeast Asia, primarily in the countries of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Some companies produce palm oil in ways that are less damaging to 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.

RSPOThe 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 standards address both forest protection and the health of plantation workers and their families.

While being a member of the RSPO is a good start, producing truly responsible palm oil goes beyond the RSPO standards. We’d like to see companies pledge to protect ALL forests and peatlands and be transparent in sharing their practices. Companies need to commit to mapping their supply chains in order to find out where their palm oil is coming from and how it’s grown. By doing this, we can be sure that the palm oil we use is deforestation-free and doesn’t harm wildlife.


Please join us in asking companies to use only deforestation-free palm oil that is produced without destroying any wildlife habitat. Contact one of your favorite companies that uses palm oil to let them know you care about protecting tropical forests and wildlife.

As a consumer, you can have a powerful impact by sending a letter, email, or tweet directly to a company. When consumers reach out to manufacturers and retailers, those companies can commit to deforestation-free palm oil and demand better practices from their suppliers or find other sources.

See our sample letter >


  • Review the Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard from the World Wildlife Foundation to discover how your favorite companies rank and learn more about the scoring process.
  • Another Palm Oil Scorecard is produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists.