British manufacturers, food service companies and retailers that heavily use palm oil have ranked among the best in the 2016 version of WWF’s Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard, which has been launched today.
Many well-known UK companies are ‘leading the way’, on sustainable palm oil while others have failed to keep their promises to consumers or are still doing nothing at all to help reduce deforestation and other adverse impacts of producing the world’s most popular vegetable oil and we’re losing valuable tropical habitats and species as a result.
The 2016 edition of WWF’s Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard, looks at 137 major retailers, consumer goods manufacturers and food service companies from the around the world including key UK brands like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Morrisons among others.
WWF Palm Oil lead Adam Harrison said:
“WWF has published this Scorecard in 2016 because we wanted to evaluate what companies actually did in 2015 and not what they said they would do. While we can report gratifying progress by many companies, too many fell short of their own commitments to their customers. Meanwhile too many companies are still hiding from this issue altogether. That is unacceptable considering the easy availability of certified sustainable palm oil.”
“More than half of the companies had promised us and their customers that they would be using only certified palm oil by 2015.”
While most of them did achieve their targets, it is a disappointment that 21 companies did not.
This is the 4th time WWF have assessed companies on their commitments and progress on sourcing sustainable palm oil. As with the previous WWF Palm Oil Scorecards, this one measures how companies performed on basic steps such as joining the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), committing to and buying sustainable palm oil, and transparency. The Scorecard focuses on the year 2015, by which many companies pledged to consumers that they would be using 100% certified palm oil.
Palm oil plantations largely based in low lying tropical areas in Southeast Asia but increasingly in Africa and Latin America, produce 65 percent of the world’s traded vegetable oil. Palm oil is a key ingredient in many foods, cosmetics, soaps and detergents and is emerging as a significant biofuel stock.
Dr Emma Keller, Agricultural Commodities Manager at WWF-UK said:
“The scorecard shows a positive story for UK companies, many of which are ‘leading the way’. This is welcome news for British consumers who can have confidence that many of the products they buy contain palm oil that is not having negative environmental impacts. British retailers, manufacturers and food service companies have shown that in less than a decade it is possible to move to sustainable palm oil supply chains. With the volumes available there is no excuse for not sourcing RSPO certified sustainable palm oil.”
“We have been scoring companies on their palm oil policies and actions since 2009 and the progress made shows how an industry can change its modus operandi and embed sustainability concerns into their business model. With demand for palm oil expected to double by 2020 there will be increasing pressure on tropical forests and biodiversity, and risks of dangerous levels of greenhouse gas emissions being released. We need to see all companies committing to 100% sustainable palm oil and progressive UK companies should continue to pave the way for others to follow.”
More than two thirds of scored companies that committed to using only 100% certified sustainable palm oil by 2015 did reach or get over 90% of the way to reaching this target. Still a number of major brands fell short of their targets by 50% or more.
Consumers have a role to play in demanding full participation and transparency of all palm oil buyers across the globe in order to stem the tide of deforestation and affect true sector wide transformation. By visiting the scorecard website consumers can reach out to companies to commend those that are leading the way and to encourage others to do better.
WWF’s Living Planet report, found a 52% decline in vertebrate species populations, demonstrating that industries such as palm oil have no choice but to make supply chains sustainable. Species like tigers, Asian Elephants and orang-utans, habitats are potentially being threatened by unsustainable palm oil production.
Glyn Davies, Executive Director of Global Programmes at WWF-UK said:
“Unsuitable palm oil production, especially in Southeast Asia, is leading to catastrophic declines in rainforests throughout the region – home to millions of species, including iconic orangutans, tiger and elephants. Now, more than ever, we need companies to step up and source sustainably produced palm oil, which can help reduce deforestation and so support sustainable development.”
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .