Chester – The World’s First Sustainable Palm Oil City?
JB Restaurant manager Emily Spruce on a new initiative led by Chester Zoo.
Amongst a plethora of more trivial day-today concerns involved in running a restaurant, we’ve been thinking about the environmental impact we have and if we can make improvements. More specifically, recently we went along to the launch of a campaign by Chester Zoo (hosted by our neighbours Chez Jules) to get Chester to become the first sustainable palm oil city in the world.
Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil used in an array of products, such as processed foods, cleaning products and cosmetics. It is cheap and very efficient, making it pretty ubiquitous within modern living - 50% of products sold in the supermarket contain palm oil! To cater for this demand, a staggering amount of rainforest has been cleared. Clearing rainforest has effects relating to climate change, species extinction and poverty, to name just a few reasons why we care...
As the forest is felled the loss of habitat pushes species to the brink of extinction; some of these are iconic like the orang-utan, and many are still unknown to science yet have great value; think cancer-fighting super bugs*. The rainforest often grows on carbon-rich peat land, and as this is destroyed huge amounts of CO2 are released into the atmosphere; enhancing human driven climate change... (ANOTHER thing that causes global warming!!). Rainforest destruction also has negative social impact: indigenous peoples of these areas may be forcefully removed; and for those that stay, there’s exploitation of rights and unfair wages.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is sustainable palm oil.. it couldn’t be more different! Having an RSPO certified product guarantees the rights of worker, keeps wildlife healthy and requires new forest be planted. This’ll keep the elephants, orang-utans and tigers happy, whilst supporting local economies and protecting the environment.
We think this is a worthwhile cause to support so we’ve decided to take the plunge. We’ll be looking at sourcing of our products, ensuring they’re RSPO certified (Roundtable for Sustainable Palm oil), so here we go… bring it on!!
If you’re keen to find out more there’s a tonne of information on the web, or come in and speak to me – I’m a bit of a geek with things like this.
*just for example!! But there really is loads of cool and useful stuff in the rainforest.