First and foremost a very happy Easter to our wonderful 21st Century Tiger community! Initially, this blog post was going to be an update on our sustainable eggs article last year.
We referred to a report by the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) and Ethical Consumer magazine. They surveyed more than 70 Easter egg producers, ranking them based on their practices and policies in relation to palm oil sourcing. Oil palm plantations have decimated 9 million hectares of prime rainforest, tiger habitat, in Indonesia in the last decade. That’s an area the size of Wales, doubled.
The original plan was to report on what the worst offenders for consumption of ‘bad’ palm oil had done to improve in the last year. The hope was to share a positive article about how these brands were making changes to consume only 100% Certified palm oil, however small. This was much harder then it should have been.
Several attempts were made to contact last years losers, Thornton’s, via Twitter, email and their customer services telephone to no avail. Guylian and Lindt both had statements regarding their intentions to more to 100% certified palm oil usage, but it wasn’t clear for any of these brands what specifically had changed since last year.
But it is Easter, a time of celebration, rather than get on a soapbox and write a hate-filled report, let’s explore what power we have as ‘normal’ consumers. Change can’t happen overnight, but it won’t happen unless people come together to speak out. This doesn’t have to be in the form of protest or boycotts.
Brands and retailers manufacture and sell products that we as consumers demand. If we don’t even enquire if our food and household products are sourced responsibly – there is no incentive for manufacturers or suppliers to provide it for us.
As consumers we have the right to question and the power to change the products we buy. We can encourage mass producers and end users of palm oil to move towards committing to zero deforestation and use of 100% Certified palm oil in their supply chain.
As a community you help us to fund essential tiger conservation work in Sumatra, protecting wild tigers and giving them a future. It’s not always possible for supporters to donate to these projects – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a difference!
A new EU labelling law will come into place December 2014, meaning that palm oil will have to be labelled on ingredients lists. Till this comes into place, exercise your consumer rights to know where your products come from. If a brand is unclear about what it uses – switch your allegiance to brands that prioritise the planet over their profits. Shout about brands who are making a difference to wild tigers and highlight their practices.
Our Facebook and Twitter communities are growing into a wonderful movement of like minded home-based conservationists. Together we can make a real difference in the fight to save tigers and our planet.
Please carry on sharing your stories and photos on Facebook with us – we love to hear what’s important to you and always happy to answer any questions you have about tigers. Over the next few months we’ll be developing our website, we’d love to know what resources or information that you would like to see – email us your thoughts.
Again, we’d like to wish you all a very happy Easter, thank you all for your continued support!
Picture: Special thanks to Debs for making this lovely picture for us!