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Chester Zoo removes Nestlé F&B products after RSPO suspension

RSPO sustainable palm oil

Chester Zoo has reacted swiftly to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) suspension of the food giant by removing Nestlé F&B products.

Chester Zoo has announced that it is “sorry to confirm” it has removed a range of Nestlé products from the zoo with immediate effect. This follows the suspension of Nestlé from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

“As a world leading voice on sustainable palm oil we are working closely with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums,” says the zoo on its website. “We urge Nestlé to take all necessary measures to re-join the RSPO scheme and support sustainable palm oil as the most effective way to protect rainforest habitats and prevent the extinction of species like orangutans.”

Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world – global consumption is increasing. However there is deep concern about its production. Unsustainable plantations are being held responsible for the destruction of rainforest in South East Asia. Resident wildlife, such as the orangutan population, is being pushed to the brink of extinction.

The answer is not to stop production of the oil altogether but to shift the way it is produced. Palm oil itself is actually an extremely efficient crop, as a recent report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature highlights. It says sustainable palm oil is “the most viable solution” to the environmental crisis, providing further palm oil related deforestation is avoided.

Widespread support for the RSPO

The RSPO has been backed by a wide range of conservation organisations, alongside Chester Zoo. These include the WWF UK, The Orangutan Land Trust, and The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The RSPO suspended Nestlé, alongside its subsidiaries for lack of compliance with RSPO rules. The company also failed to produce a report giving details on how it would ensure the use of certified sustainable palm oil.

If fully removed from the RSPO, Nestlé will no longer be deemed accountable to palm oil sustainability standards, set in place to protect threatened wildlife. ​

“We call on Nestlé to address these issues urgently and join the campaign to prevent the extinction of orangutans and many other species,” says Chester Zoo, calling on the public to contact Nestlé directly and ask the company to re-join the RSPO as a matter of extreme urgency.

Nestlé have issued a response to the suspension saying that the company is “fully committed to the Responsible Sourcing of palm oil, and we are working hard to achieve our ambition of 100% Responsibly Sourced palm oil by 2020. We have always viewed the RSPO certification as one tool in achieving
that ambition, but it is not the only tool.”

Chester Zoo is renowned for its work with endangered species. This spring it opened a nature reserve providing a protected habitat for threatened British wildlife as part of its wider vision to provide new habitats for vulnerable species.

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