Handle Bar hosts Sustainable Palm Oil City Breakfast 

 
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Speaking to a cross section of representatives from Oxford’s hospitality sector, Jenny Tegg, Head of Marketing at Chester Zoo, recalled the moment she witnessed the devastating effects that palm oil had had on the rainforest while on a research trip to Borneo.

The scale of the deforestation in the name of palm oil production was overwhelming, depressing and extremely disheartening. Luckily in that moment, a colleague stepped in and reminded Jenny:

‘This is the tropics. Things grow here. We can fix this.’

Jenny Tegg, Head of Marketing at Chester Zoo

Jenny Tegg, Head of Marketing at Chester Zoo

From that moment on, she decided to do everything she could to help.

Counter to popular opinion at the time, the answer wasn’t to boycott palm oil, but rather to increase the amount of sustainable palm oil in the UK. This empowers consumers to force palm oil producers to produce it in a sustainable way. 

And so, the Sustainable Palm Oil City project was born. 

Helen Buckland, Director of SOS

Helen Buckland, Director of SOS

In September 2017, teaming up with the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) Chester Zoo held a launch event where they invited representatives from the hospitality and food sectors, including restauranteurs, visitor attractions and Chester University.

‘We asked them one thing: Please can we change the palm oil industry one business at a time,’ said Jenny. ‘If each of you make just one change, we can guarantee that it will make a difference. 

Fast forward to 2019, and Chester was announced as the first Sustainable Palm Oil city. Now Oxford is on its way to becoming the second. 

Celine, owner of the Handle Bar

Celine, owner of the Handle Bar

‘I’ve always thought that saying no to palm oil was very important,’ Celine, owner of the Handle Bar  said at the event. ‘I was very confident in saying there’s no palm oil in my kitchen because we make everything from scratch and everything is locally sourced. But despite these efforts, I still found palm oil sneaking in everywhere: from makeup to cleaning products. We still have a lot of work to do, but I ran the marathon last year for the organisation so whatever it is, it will be super easy in comparison!’

Michele Morely, Environmental Manager at Oxford Brookes

Michele Morely, Environmental Manager at Oxford Brookes

Also speaking at the event was Michele Morely, Environmental Manager at Oxford Brookes, who are well on their way to becoming a sustainable palm oil University thanks to a tremendous effort by staff students and academics. In 2017 they completed a study investigating the use of palm oil in the University and since them have been working with their suppliers to ensure that all palm oil is being sustainably produced. 

What’s next? 

Helen and Celine

Helen and Celine

SOS are planning a launch event on the 28th of September at Oxford’s Natural History Museum and hope to have as many representatives signed up as possible from the hospitality and food sectors. 

If you missed the breakfast event, don’t worry. There is still plenty of time to sign up as a sustainable Palm Oil Champion 

For more information, please visit https://www.orangutans-sos.org/take-action/campaigns/sustainable-palm-oil-city-oxford/ or email helen@orangutans-sos.org.

 
Sarah Halliday