Organisations from across the Fylde coast joined us to help Blackpool become one of the first sustainable palm oil communities in the world.
Representatives from Blackpool Council, Blackpool Football Club, Inspired PLC, the Strathdon Hotel and Flakefleet Primary School joined 13 other businesses to find out how they can make a difference to critically endangered species in places such as Borneo, Sumatra, the Philippines, Nigeria and South America.
The campaign to tackle the ever-growing palm oil crisis has been spearheaded by our Education, Conservation and Research team.
So far, Chester is the only city in the world to have achieved Palm Oil Sustainable Community status following the hugely successful project launched by Chester Zoo in 2017.
Huge support from the community saw businesses, organisations and schools sign up at the special event, which means Blackpool is now in the running to become the second town to demonstrate such commendable commitment to animal conservation.
Unsustainable palm oil production has seen vast areas of rainforests cleared to make way for palm oil trees destroying the homes of animals including orangutans, elephants, tigers and birds.
Joe Neath, Blackpool Zoo’s Sustainability Officer, led the event and was really excited to see so many people willing to support the cause. He said: “The mammoth task to get businesses and organisations to commit to using products containing sustainable palm oil is vitally important to ensure the long-term survival of many iconic species.
“After months of preparation we were absolutely thrilled to see so many people attend our launch event and sign up to start their sustainable palm oil journey with us.”
Cllr Jane Hugo, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment at Blackpool Council, spoke to attendees about why the council is wholeheartedly supporting the initiative.
She said: “Blackpool Zoo is such an important part of our town, and we’re really proud that they are taking this important step to create a sustainable palm oil community in Blackpool.
“The campaign has put a spotlight on how common the use of unsustainable palm oil is and how damaging it is to the environment. It has helped us reflect on what we can do about it through the Council’s services.
“I was pleased to learn that we do already buy products with palm oil certified as sustainable, but we can do more and the pledge that we are making today will help make sure we do so.
“I wish Blackpool Zoo all the best with the campaign, which we’ll continue to support and promote the sustainable palm oil community in Blackpool.”
Inspired PLC was one of the businesses that attended and is starting its journey to learn more about sustainable palm oil. Social Impact Manager, Kirsty Bullough, said: “After hearing about the project, we spent a fantastic day learning about Blackpool’s ambition to be the second sustainable palm oil community in the world.’
‘Initiatives like this showcase the impact of procurement decisions across the globe.
“It's important that palm oil is sourced in a manner that respects both the human rights of the workers and the natural environment. As consumers we can use our collective power to help make this process better for people and the planet.
“We will continue to learn more about the palm oil industry and the initiative, and look for ways for us to create a positive impact.”
Blackpool hoteliers, Veronica and Ian Allsopp, who own the Strathdon Hotel in South Shore, fully support the campaign and are looking forward to starting their journey to being palm oil sustainable.
Veronica said: “Our business is only small but we feel it is important to get involved because nature needs everyone’s help, hopefully more StayBlackpool members will become involved, which will help Blackpool Zoo achieve its goal.
“Encouraging our suppliers to be more environmentally conscious is worth doing for the sake of the orangutans and other animals.”
Joe added: “Palm oil is in nearly everything – according to the World Wild Fund for Nature it’s in close to 50% of the packaged products we find in supermarkets. Everything from pizza, doughnuts and chocolate, to deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and lipstick.
“If Blackpool’s conscientious businesses encouraged their suppliers to switch to sustainably sourced palm oil, the shared impact of our efforts would be huge.
“Switching to sustainable palm oil would help protect the habitats of already endangered species such as pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinos and Bornean orangutans like Blackpool Zoo’s much-loved Cherie, Summer, Jingga and Kawan.
“Preventing the destruction of forests and areas of biodiversity would also have a significant impact on climate change.”
Businesses and organisations that signed up to take part will receive an information pack and ongoing support from the team here at Blackpool Zoo.
The pack contains information that highlights the devastation caused by unsustainable palm oil and includes facts about other oils that produce much lower yields in the same amount of farm space, making sustainable palm oil the most environmentally friendly solution to protect biodiversity.
There is also an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide for businesses to check suppliers’ credentials as well as resources to help make switches to sustainable palm oil suppliers.
For more information and to get involved, please see our Palm Oil Community page here.