Palm Oil

Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of the oil palm tree, Elaeis guineensis. It is is an extremely useful oil that can be found in about 50% of supermarket items today. It is known as the most efficiently produced vegetable oil as it takes the least amount of land to successfully produce. While palm oil is extremely effective, it is currently one of the primary reasons for the deforestation of wildlife and orangutans and also is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Should We Avoid Palm Oil?

The debates on sustainable options versus avoiding palm oil altogether are ongoing. Based on current scientific research, avoiding palm oil altogether may actually worsen the issues at hand. Currently, we advocate for the preservation of all remaining rainforests and disagree with anything that would further any destruction of existing forests. We support the practice of producing and consuming ethically and sustainably sourced palm oil from Southeast Asia.

“Avoiding palm oil could have worse effects because it might take support away from companies that are trying hard to improve the situation. This could encourage companies to use other products that may have even more impact on the environment. Palm oil is by far the most efficient vegetable oil to grow as it takes less land to produce than other vegetable oils. Palm oil can be produced in a responsible manner that respects the environment and the communities where it is commonly grown.”

World Wildlife Fund
Palm Oil Based Products

Cetyl Palmitate and Octyl Palmitate
Elaeis Guineensis (Taxonomic name for palm oil)
Hexadecylic or Palmitic Acid
Hydrated Palm Glycerides
Palm Oil Kernal
Palmitate (anything with Palmitate at the end*)

Palm Oil Derivatives

Cetearyl Alcohol
Emulsifier 422, 430-36, 470-8, 481-483, 493-5
Glyceryl Stearate
Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye
Sodium Laureth Sulphate
Sodium Lauryl Sulphates
Steareth – 2 & Steareth – 20
Stearic Acid Vegetable Oil
Vegetable Oil
Vegetable Fat
Elaeis Guineensis

Finding Sustainable Solutions

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo maintains the most updated list of companies and products that are members of RSPO and reportedly work toward sustainable production of oil palm. These companies claim to promote true sustainable agroforestry. To see a list of these companies and their products visit:

Download the FREE Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping Guide:

Other Items to Avoid

Many items that we use in our everyday life are contributors to the deforestation of the Southeast Asian rainforests where the orangutans live. Choosing products that use sustainable resources or avoiding the materials that are harming orangutans’ habitats can greatly help with conservation efforts. We have gathered a list of materials and products that are known to negatively affect orangutans and their habitat.

Tropical Plywood

Tropical plywood refers to any type of wood that grows from trees in the tropical rainforests. It is often used for construction projects due to its low cost, however, the overharvesting of this popular wood has caused significant deforestation and devastation to the South East Asian rainforests.

Ramin Dowels

Ramin hardwood is from an endangered species of tree that is used to create ramin dowels is logged and imported from Indonesia and Malaysia. Ramin dowels are often even used in products that claim to be “Made in the USA”.

Rayon Viscose

Rayon, also known as viscose, which is pupled from the many of the trees found in the rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia. Rayon popularly used in various forms of clothing items. The over-harvesting of these trees leads to rainforest deforestation.

Exotic Hardwoods, Teak, Ebony, Sandalwood, Ironwood

The Indonesian and Malaysian hardwoods, teak, ebony, sandalwood, and ironwood that is collected should also be avoided due to their slow-growing nature. The overharvesting of these materials greatly endangers the wildlife that depends on their existence within the rainforest.

Save the species, take action now.