Orangutan Land Trust

Orangutan Land Trust  focuses on supporting the preservation, restoration and protection of forests in the areas where orangutans naturally exist or have existed in the past. The main aim is to ensure that there are safe forest areas set aside for orangutans and other species which accompany them within their habitat to form a healthy ecosystem.

Our commitment on the movement

The Orangutan Land Trust is committed to sustainable palm oil. Our biggest struggle has been to demonstrate to supporters of our organization that palm oil doesn’t have to result in deforestation or biodiversity loss, and that by demanding responsible palm oil, we can help ensure that it doesn’t. Our supporters have been confused by messages in the public domain, such as from some UK retailers, that a blanket boycott of palm oil is desirable- a position we categorically do not share.

"Together, we are demonstrating that sustainable palm oil can save orangutans and other biodiversity".
Michelle Desilets, Executive Director

Our story

Most orangutans in the wild live outside of protected areas, and increasingly within landscapes which include oil palm (10,000 orangutans live in areas allocated for industrial palm in Borneo alone) (https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/palm-oil-and-biodiversity). When oil palm replaces orangutan habitat, orangutans can starve or find themselves victims in Human-Wildlife Conflict situations. However, scientists in Orangutan Land Trust’s Scientific Advisory Board discovered that orangutans can survive in these landscapes, if sufficient forest patches and wildlife corridors are available and they are not killed by plantation staff or communities. Orangutan Land Trust convened experts, other NGOs and major growers to develop the PONGO (Palm Oil and NGO) Alliance (www.pongoalliance.org) to look at solutions for orangutans and other wildlife in oil palm landscapes. This platform has initiated innovative projects in Kinabatangan in Sabah and in Ketapang in West Kalimantan involving forest restoration and corridor development featuring an emphasis on food trees for orangutans. The oil palm growers involved not only comply with the RSPO standard (which offers significant protection for rare species like the orangutan) but are going above and beyond by actively supporting orangutan conservation both within and outside of their concession boundaries. Together, we are demonstrating that sustainable palm oil can save orangutans and other biodiversity.

Our UN Sustainable Development Goals

My organisation is most concerned with the following 5 UN SDGs:

Primarily, SDG 15 Life on Land. However through our broad engagement with all aspects of sustainable palm oil we also commit to SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production, SDG 13 Climate Action, SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities and SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals.

Our struggles and future plans

My next activity that will help reach our target of 100% sustainable palm oil in Europe is working with partners to develop a global shopping app which allows consumers to scan the barcodes of products to see if they contain sustainable palm oil. Thereby encouraging more brands to source 100% CSPO.

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