If you’ve ever wanted to save the rainforests from the comfort of your smartphone, now’s your chance. With a brand-new free global mobile app, everyone has the power to advocate with their shopping choices, and to make large companies listen to their demands for sustainably produced palm oil.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (CMZoo), under the direction of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), is launching a mobile app, called PalmOil Scan. The free smartphone app will empower consumers to make informed, environmentally-friendly shopping decisions, just by scanning a barcode. PalmOil Scan is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play in the U.S. and Canada now.
“With this app, consumers can easily make informed choices that benefit wild animals and their habitats,” said Tracey Gazibara, executive vice president at CMZoo and co-chair of the WAZA Palm Oil Subcommittee. “If worldwide consumers show preference for companies that source only sustainable palm oil, we can create a demand that other companies can’t ignore. When more companies realize their potential customers will not stand for the use of unsustainable palm oil, we can prevent more deforestation and help endangered animals recover in the wild.”
Palm oil is an edible oil that can be found in about half of the products consumers purchase. It is used in candy, soaps, cosmetics, pet food, and even toilet paper. Because of high demand, unsustainable palm oil production has resulted in deforestation across Southeast Asia, and other tropical areas, which means critically endangered species like orangutans, tigers, and elephants are losing their homes.
However, when produced sustainably, palm oil is the most productive edible oil available. Oil palms – the trees that palm oil comes from – produce four to ten times more oil than alternatives like soy, olive, canola and coconut. Switching to these alternatives would cause even more deforestation in tropical areas, which is why consumers must demand sustainable palm oil.
Conscientious consumers can scan the barcodes on thousands of products in the app’s extensive database (which is being updated and expanded constantly) to see if they are produced by a company that has committed to sourcing sustainable palm oil. The new app also has a search feature, so if consumers scan a product that isn’t orangutan-friendly, they can easily choose an alternative that is.
Companies that have previously relied on their customers’ lack of knowledge about unsustainable palm oil and its impact on orangutans, tigers, rhinos, and elephants will soon recognize their competitors have the edge on them.
“Companies that continue to use unsustainable palm oil in their products need to see that consumers have the tools and knowledge to find out whether they value the habitats that so many endangered species depend on,” said Gazibara. “Sustainable palm oil production is possible, and it is time for us all to hold companies to a higher standard.”
CMZoo has been a leader in sustainable palm oil advocacy for more than a decade. The Zoo launched a similar mobile app for consumers in the U.S. and Canada in 2014. More than 160,000 verified users have educated themselves by using CMZoo’s app. Its design, database and user experience served as the foundation for the design of PalmOil Scan, which has the potential to reach millions more people around the world.
With the launch of PalmOil Scan, CMZoo has discontinued its former app. Depending on individual smartphone settings, users who previously used the CMZoo palm oil app may have automatically downloaded PalmOil Scan, or they may need to delete the old app and download PalmOil Scan manually. It is available now in the U.S. and Canada, and will be available in additional countries later this year.
To learn more about sustainable palm oil, and how the power of consumer choice can save critically endangered animals in Southeast Asia, visit cmzoo.org/palmoil.
Download the PalmOil Scan App
About Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society was founded in 1926. Today, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, America’s mountain Zoo, offers comprehensive education programs, exciting conservation efforts and truly fantastic animal experiences. In 2022, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was voted #3 Best Zoo in North America and CMZoo’s Rocky Mountain Wild was named #2 Best Zoo Exhibit in North America by USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. It is Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s goal to help guests fall in love with animals and nature, and take action to protect them. Since 2008, CMZoo’s Quarters for Conservation program has raised $4 million dedicated to frontline conservation efforts around the world. Of the 239 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of just a few operating without tax support. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo depends on admissions, membership dues, special event attendance and donations for funding.