The orangutan’s natural habitat is tropical rainforest, which is under threat from the surging global demand for palm oil.
This lucrative, fast-growing industry is akin to a “gold rush”, with palm oil plantation farmers encroaching into ancient rainforest, felling trees to make way for plantation after plantation – a super highway of cheap to produce and easy to yield palm oil.
Some 60 million tonnes of palm oil are harvested globally every year more than rapeseed, sunflower, and soybean.
Palm oil is to cheap to produce, versatile and has the highest crop yield. Palm oil is in 50% of products including food, cosmetics, health products and biodiesel.
The Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil is an organisation working worldwide to encourage responsible palm oil farming.
RSPO is a membership organisation which works with businesses, banks, governments, environmental groups and retailers in an effort to curtail irreversible damage to habitat and wildlife.
As 85% of the world’s palm oil is harvested in Indonesia and Borneo, RSPO recognises the growing threat to the critically endangered orangutans.
RSPO certified palm oil plantations cover an area approximately 22 times the size of Singapore, which represents 14% of the industry – but there is still a lot of work to be done.
The RSPO says: “Certification is a seal of approval that the palm oil used in the product is indeed sustainably produced and volumes are traceable.”
“Producers are certified through strict verification of the production process, to the stringent RSPO guidelines, by accredited certifying agencies and may be withdrawn at any time on infringement of the rules and standards.”
“The certified sustainable palm oil (RSPO Oil) is traceable through the supply chain by certification of each facility along the supply chain that processes or uses the certified oil.”
Go Orange for Orangutans is urging people to check products for the RSPO certificate.
To find out more about RSPO go to www.rspo.org.
Chester Zoo staff lead orange appeal
More than 100 people, schools and businesses have registered to Go Orange for Orangutans this October.
Chester Zoo got festivities off to a swinging start by going orange last week. Staff dressed up in orange clothes and got involved in fundraising activities.
Other organisations involved included Reaseheath Conservation Society, Westminster Community Primary School, Moneypenny, Aaron & Partners LLP and MBNA.
The Chronicle are backing Chester Zoo’s Go Orange for orangutans which is part of the zoo’s Act for Wildlife initiative.
We want to hear about your fundraising initiatives and publish your pictures of you going orange for orangutans.
Contact Barry Ellams on 01244 606431 or email barry. email@example.com.
For more about the campaign go to www.actforwildlife.org.uk .