It’s a Good Day for Orangutans and Other Endangered Wildlife

November 16, 2018

– Cheyenne Mountain Zoo supports newly passed principles and criteria for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil as progress in the fight again deforestation –

November 16, 2018, Colorado Springs, CO – Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was among those who voted “Yes” on passing the ratified Principles & Criteria (P&C) during 2018’s Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) conference in Malaysia this week. The new P&C is the result of months of extensive public and stakeholder consultation representing environmental NGOs, social NGOs, retailors, consumer goods manufacturers, palm oil traders, and oil palm growers.

Supported by many environmental organizations, the new P&C includes important environmentally friendly steps forward such as regulation on High Conservation Value areas, use of the High Carbon Stock Approach toolkit, no planting on peat regardless of depth, and banning fire as a method for land preparation. The new P&C also includes strengthened requirements on labor rights such as decent living wages and housing, and strengthens the RSPO’s commitment to not condoning child or trafficked labor.

These updated environmental policies are important because:

  • High Conservation Value areas are biologically diverse areas home to rare and endangered species, ecosystems and habitats. These areas also act as an important resource for local communities and can have cultural and historical significance.
  • The High Carbon Stock Approach toolkit incorporates the latest scientific research, feedback from on-the-ground trials, and new topics and input from working groups on best practices to identify and protect tropical forests.
  • Peatlands are a “carbon sink” for the planet that store billions of tons of organic carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, a heavy contributor to the changing global climate. Peatlands are also important ecosystems that are home to many unique species of plants and animals.
  • No longer allowing fire as an acceptable method for land preparation will prevent significant biodiversity and carbon loss as well as prevent the emission of dangerous pollutants that can worsen air quality and cause harm to human health.

The newly adopted environmental and social criteria marks ongoing improvement in the certified sustainable palm oil supply chain. The not-for-profit RSPO is the largest sustainable palm oil certifying scheme and takes a holistic approach to improving the supply chain by bringing all stakeholders together. Currently the RSPO has more than 4,000 members worldwide who have committed to producing, sourcing, and promoting sustainable palm oil. Certified sustainable palm oil is the best way to protect the environment, along with the people and wildlife who live there. When grown sustainably, palm oil is the best option as oil palms produce four-to-ten times more oil than other edible oil crops such as coconut, olive, sunflower and rapeseed. Boycotting palm oil will increase the demand for less eco-friendly vegetable oils and can worsen deforestation and cause it to spread to other parts of the world.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has been a member of the RSPO since 2010 and takes an active role in North America as a leader in the sustainable palm oil movement. The Zoo works to educate consumers on the importance of choosing sustainable palm oil and then connects them with companies who could be doing better to demand change. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo also manages a free app that consumers can utilize during shopping trips to discover which companies are working to conserve endangered species such as orangutans, tigers and rhinos. Those who wish to support orangutan-friendly companies can find the app by searching “Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping” in the app store and looking for the green orangutan, or by visiting the Zoo’s Orangutans & Palm Oil page.


About Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society was founded in 1926. Today, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, America’s only mountain zoo, offers comprehensive education programs, exciting conservation efforts and truly fantastic animal experiences. It is Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s hope that guests fall in love with animals and nature, and take action to protect them. Of the 233 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of just ten operating without tax support. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo depends on admissions, membership dues, special event attendance and donations for funding.