Palm oil

Oregon Zoo's position on palm oil

Palm oil is a popular vegetable oil used worldwide in a variety of food, health, beauty and other products. Unsustainable palm oil production destroys tropical ecosystems and contributes to rapid biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Oregon Zoo believes that advocating for more sustainable palm oil production will help break the link between palm oil production and habitat destruction.

Key points

  • Many species represented at the Oregon Zoo - including orangutans, tigers, elephants, sun bears and chimpanzees - are threatened by the destruction of their tropical habitats for plantations that produce palm oil.
  • People can help simply by raising awareness about how everyday consumer choices can negatively impact wildlife. 
  • Consumers have the power to change the way companies do business by encouraging them to make progress toward a goal of zero-deforestation palm oil.
  • Palm oil goes by many names and is found in a variety of products, but there are sustainable palm oil and palm oil-free alternatives for many foods, cleaners and hygiene products. "Shopping the perimeter" of a grocery store (where fresh produce, meats, seafood and dairy are located) leads to a healthier diet and helps consumers avoid palm oil. Palm oil is most commonly found in processed foods.
  • Chendra, a much-beloved elephant at the Oregon Zoo, was orphaned and injured as a direct result of palm oil production.
  • Many conservation organizations are working to break the link between palm oil production and habitat destruction.