News story

Ethical palm oil rise protects endangered orang-utans

If They're Gone highlights the plight of orang-utans as new report shows efforts to protect their natural habitat.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


More than half of palm oil imported into the UK now comes from sustainable sources, a new report will show today.

The report is the first review of the UK consumption of palm oil in four years and since an agreement was made in 2012 to source 100 per cent sustainable palm oil by 2015.

In 2009, around 24 per cent of palm oil was sustainably sourced, but the latest figures show an increase to 52 per cent.

The figures are released as Environment Minister Lord de Mauley launches the latest season of the If They’re Gone campaign to raise awareness of the threats to some of our most endangered species, such as the orang-utan.

Palm oil is the world’s most used vegetable oil and is contained in food, cosmetics and soaps. However, chopping down rainforests to make room for palm oil plantations is causing catastrophic environmental damage and resulting in the loss of the orang-utans’ natural habitat.

More UK businesses and charities have also signed up to protecting the natural habitat of our endangered species by committing to only using 100 per cent sustainable palm oil by 2015.

Lord de Mauley said:

By preserving natural habitats we can protect endangered species such as the orang-utan who are at risk due to deforestation.

We’ve seen a massive decline in their numbers in recent years and the rate of their demise is set to continue rapidly unless we stop forests from being destroyed.

Everyone can make a difference by buying products made with sustainable palm oil. This will help protect the environment, sustainable farmers and our precious wildlife.

As part of the government’s commitment to sustainable palm oil, all food ingredients labels will have to specify when palm oil is used in a product by December 2014.

The If They’re Gone campaign was launched in March 2013 and involves more than 20 organisations from key wildlife groups, zoos and safari parks.

For more information visit our If They’re Gone Facebook page

Photo credit: Roland Mayer

Published 11 November 2013