Blackpool could be one of the first towns in the world to become a Sustainable Palm Oil Community, thanks to a campaign spearheaded by our Education, Conservation and Research team.
So far, Chester is the only city in the world to have achieved this accolade following the hugely successful campaign launched by Chester Zoo in 2017 and Blackpool is 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 in places such as Borneo, Sumatra, the Philippines, Nigeria and South America, destroying the homes of animals including orangutans, elephants, tigers and birds.
All three species of orangutans are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Here at Blackpool Zoo, we are home to four Bornean orangutans and in the last 16 years 150,000 individuals are thought to have been lost in the wild. If the use of unsustainable palm oil continues at its current rate, the species is in increasing danger of becoming extinct.
A free information event, open to businesses across all sectors in the town, will be held here at the Zoo in February.
We will be working in collaboration with Blackpool Council to support the initiative and the hope is that many more companies and organisations will soon follow suit.
Our Sustainability Officer, Joe Neath, explains: “Blackpool Zoo is working with Chester Zoo’s conservationists to launch a campaign to raise awareness and encourage local organisations to make the switch to sustainable palm oil.
“We’re excited to launch Blackpool’s bid to become a Sustainable Palm Oil Community. This is a much-needed initiative, with far reaching impact.
“The event will start with an interactive experience at Blackpool Zoo, which will include talks and meeting some animals.
“Businesses will then be invited to learn more about what they can do to become palm oil partners and sustainability champions in the coming months.
“The main task is a simple one though; encouraging local businesses, schools and organisations to simply contact their suppliers and check that the palm oil they use is sustainably sourced.
“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.
“From a much more local business perspective – becoming a sustainable palm oil partner also reflects your organisation in a very favourable light!”
To help Blackpool become the world’s second Sustainable Palm Oil Community and sign up to attend the first event, which will take place at 9.30am on Thursday 23rd February, businesses should see our Sustainable Palm Oil Community page here.