Here at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, we think it’s pretty cool to help nature and animal conservation. Want to join us?
This Halloween season, we want to challenge you to move toward a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly option for all your candy needs. Even better, we want to challenge you to continue this into your regular grocery shopping routine!
How, you ask? Well it is easy! Without really realizing it, more than half of the products you buy at the store – from food to cosmetics and bath products to Halloween candy – include palm oil. However, there are companies and brands that are committed to using sustainable palm oil, which is important to the conservation of tropical forests and the animals that live there.
Wondering what palm oil is? Simply put, it is the world’s most used vegetable oil because it is inexpensive and efficient. It derives from the fruit of the African oil palm tree that originated in West Africa, but can flourish wherever there is heat and rainfall. When done sustainably, this is a great option for vegetable oil as it requires less land and fewer pesticides and fertilizers.
Unfortunately, there is a downside. There is increased demand for palm oil because of trans-fat health concerns, which is driving production to an all-time high. There are producers that go into forests in places like Borneo and Sumatra, where the majority of palm oil is produced, and cut down trees and burn areas of the forests. Many critically endangered species live in these areas, including gibbons, tigers and orangutans, and often these animals either get caught in the burning forests, or their habitats are destroyed. Many die from lack of resources.
The answer is not to boycott products that contain palm oil, but to look for companies and products that source it sustainably. This crop can be grown without cutting down the rainforest when it is produced responsibly, and palm oil production is a major economic source for many countries in Southeast Asia. You can help by looking for palm oil products that are sourced sustainably and ethically and here’s how: