We’ve teamed up with three major zoos around New Zealand to throw our support behind Unmask Palm Oil in a campaign that’s calling on Kiwis to join us in demanding clear labelling of palm oil on all food products.

Ahead of a key vote on labelling being held on 25 November, the ‘Ask for Choice’ campaign wants to show the ministers who are representing Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) that consumers want choice.

We believe every New Zealander should be able to choose what’s in their food and clear labelling is the best step forward for consumers, so that they can demand sustainable palm oil, make better nutrition decisions, and create a level playing field.

Palm oil is estimated to be in about half of all products available in supermarkets and currently only has to be labelled on food as ‘vegetable oil’. Mandatory labelling will mean consumers can make informed choices about the products they buy.

We have joined forces with Auckland Zoo, Hamilton Zoo, Orana Wildlife Park and Unmask Palm Oil to share the message with our communities to push for this change to ultimately save animals in the wild. The wild homes of critically endangered species like Sumatran tigers and orangutans are at risk from deforestation, as large areas of their habitat are cleared to make way for large unsustainable palm oil plantations in South East Asia.

However, palm oil can be produced without deforestation. Along with Unmask Palm Oil, we support the use of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO), which certifies palm oil plantations to ensure they are deforestation free. By pushing for CSPO and demanding clear labelling, we can make sure that the problem doesn’t shift to other parts of the world and onto oils which are less productive than palm oil, therefore requiring more land.

New Zealanders wanting to make the switch from conventional palm oil in order to demand Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) will soon discover that Australasian labelling laws make it nearly impossible to make this simple ethical choice.

Consumer pressure in combination with well-enforced local legislation will result in the preservation of pristine rainforest. Mandatory labelling will help everyone to choose sustainable palm oil – and, in turn, help Sumatran tigers, orangutans and thousands of other animals that rely on these wild habitats to survive.

If you’d like to choose what’s in your food, you can visit our community action station at Wellington Zoo between now and November, where you can send a postcard to Minister Jo Goodhew, asking her to vote ‘yes’ to clear labelling of palm oil on products.