A year ago, Connect Catering became ‘Sustainable Palm Oil Champions’, working closely with Chester Zoo, and Oxford City, we made a pledge to support the initiative. We planned to hold a press launch last April, however this was, unfortunately, put on hold along with most things!
Palm oil is now believed to be the most widely-used vegetable oil on the planet, present in about 50% of the manufactured and processed products found in supermarkets and shops. Whether it’s biscuits, cakes and confectionery products, or hand soaps, cosmetics, toothpaste and even cleaning products, they all contain palm oil.
Growing demand in recent decades has seen thousands of hectares of established tropical forest, across South East Asia, cleared to make way for new plantations. Orangutans, tigers, pygmy elephants and other species living in the forest have been affected. 193 species are impacted globally, by palm oil production and trying to eradicate the use of palm oil, would not help.
Palm trees are far more productive, yielding up to ten times more oil from the same amount of land than either sunflower, coconut or rape seed, so moving to these oils would only create problems elsewhere. Also, in Indonesia and Malaysia, 4.5 million people rely on the production of palm oil for their income and livelihoods. So, sustainability is the solution, halting the deforestation of the rainforests, which not only destroys the natural habitat of hundreds of species, but also has a direct effect on the CO2 emissions, causing them to surge. With the correct regulation, however, these no longer need to be consequences of palm oil production. Producers of sustainable palm oil, as certified by organisations like RSPO, provide economic benefits to local communities, whilst continually striving to lessen their impact on the environment. By integrating more sustainable practices, producers can continue to provide this most useful vegetable oil without it ‘costing the earth’.
It is not too late; by embracing a more sustainable future, we can stop the crisis. This is a major moment in the fight to save orangutans and other wildlife from extinction. The good news is, major companies, nationwide, are working to make the switch to sustainable palm oil; 77% of palm oil brought into the UK is now sustainable.
If palm oil is in a product sold in the UK, it must, by law, be shown on the ingredients list. As Sustainable Palm Oil Champions, our suppliers have audited products to help us become a 100% sustainable palm oil user.
Connect are making the changes now to secure a better future for the world we live in.