By Chloe Brant

This Sunday,  August 19 is World Orangutan Day!

At the Co-Op we want to celebrate how important Orangutans are to our natural environment and share the importance of avoiding palm oil, as a leading cause of the declining Orangutan population.

A major threat of habitat to Orangutans and other species is deforestation for palm oil which is used extensively in food, cleaning and personal care. What’s worse is it’s so hard to tell if a product you are purchasing contains palm oil.

Palm oil is one of the most widely consumed vegetable oils on the planet and can be hidden within ingredients like Glycerin, Caprylic Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol and Decyl Glucoside. Even if identified in products, it’s almost impossible to tell if the palm oil came from a rainforest where Orangutans or other animals reside, which therefore most likely have been killed in the devastating burning-off process which is deforestation.

Along with destroying habitat, deforestation for palm oil contributes to climate change. Forests are natural areas which can take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into oxygen that we and other animals can safely breathe. Cutting down large areas of forest has a massive impact on the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, not to mention the methane being released from the burning-off process of palm oil collection.

The good news is there are so many organisations and suppliers out there now who are sourcing palm oil-free products and are labeling and marketing this clearly. This is a great first step so we know we are not harming Orangutans or any other wildlife, although there is still a long way to go to protect the Orangutan species.

World Orangutan Day is a day to recognise the most iconic victim to the palm oil industry. The day was put in place to help encourage the public to take action in preserving this amazing species in any way possible.

From 1992 – 2000, the population of the Sumatran Orangutan is considered to have declined by more than 50 percent due, largely, to deforestation. Similarly, its relative, the Bornean Orangutan population fell nearly 43 percent in the past decade alone from 35,000 to 20,000.

deforestationIt’s a saddening truth that we are directly affecting these numbers due to deforestation which does not look to be slowing any time soon.

At the Co-Op we are proud to be palm oil free in order to avoid any confusion for shoppers who want to buy ethically and sustainably and support our beautiful wildlife.

The only product that contains palm oil currently is the Melrose castile soap, but this palm oil is sourced from Daabon in Colombia and has the new RSPO NEXT certification which proves their commitment to no deforestation, no development on peat, no fires, and no human rights violations. If you find any other products in our store that contain pam-oil, please let us know and we will do our best to replace them with something more sustainable.

For example, our soaps are all palm oil free, made by Natural Extracts. Our Skinmade skin care is palm oil free, Australian made and all natural. For our members and shoppers with a sweet tooth, you’re in luck! All our chocolates and treats are palm oil free, so you can enjoy a row or two of chocy knowing you are not contributing to the deforestation of Orangutan habitat. Our range of Alter Eco and Bennetto comes in a variety of great tastes.

How else can you help?

Buying palm oil free products is the first step in supporting Orangutans and other wildlife affected by deforestation. For those looking to support even further, check out these action points:

  1. Write to Indonesian and Malaysian Government Officials asking them to preserve their precious natural resources and wildlife.
  2. Research your products to know what is palm oil-free. Tell your friends, family and colleagues about how palm oil is destroying Orangutan’s habitats and where to shop to avoid palm oil.
  3. Donate, adopt, purchase or volunteer at Orangutan conservation organisations.

For the sake of our beautiful planet, rainforests, climate change and of course the Orangutan population choose to shop palm oil free.

Happy World Orangutan Day to all!

For more information on Palm Oil Free products and the Orangutan populations, check out WWF and Palm Oil Investigations which is a fantastic web tool to identify what products to avoid.


About the Author Chloe Brant – An avid ocean lover and eco blogger, Chloe works in broadcast communications and felt she needed to share the message of living a more sustainable life. The Manly Food Co-Op was the perfect fit to share their local and healthy produce and waste-free thinking with the wider community.

“I volunteer writing content for the Co-Op to share my love for local produce and to learn all I can from like-minded volunteers and community members about living a sustainable life for a happy planet :)”