A small city in England has just become the world’s first city to exclusively source all of their daily goods from sustainable palm oil suppliers.
Palm oil is a kind of vegetable oil that is used in thousands of household products, food items, cleaning materials, and cosmetics.
Since palm oil has been linked to deforestation, the prosecution of native people, dangerous sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and the destruction of wildlife habitats, more and more conservationists have been rallying for stricter regulation on palm oil production.
Chester, which only has a population of about 77,000 people according to a 2001 census, achieved the transformation thanks to a long-running campaign that was led by conservationists at the Chester Zoo.
Chester Zoo developed an entire “Sustainable Palm Oil City” model based on a framework created by the Sustainable Fish Cities project.
In addition to the campaign receiving dozens of endorsements from conservation groups and wildlife organizations, Chester’s success is expected to inspire other cities and regions to follow their example.
“This is a major moment in the fight to save orangutans and other wildlife from extinction,” said Cat Barton, Field Programs Manager at Chester Zoo. “A vast array of species are under threat and on the brink of being lost forever, because oil palm plantations are wiping out rainforests to produce the food and household items we all consume every day. But it is not too late. By embracing a more sustainable future, we can stop this crisis.
“The fact that more than 50 organizations in one city alone have made changes to the products they use – and committed to a 100% sustainable future – shows that the tide is turning.”
UK legislators have lauded the milestone as well, with Chris Matheson, MP for the City of Chester, saying: “I am so pleased to have supported this project since the start. I look forward to hearing about other cities in the UK and across the world joining the movement that Chester Zoo has started.
“This is fabulous news for the zoo, fabulous news for Chester and fabulous news for the planet,” he added.