Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol.   p.  
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21894/jopr.2021.0033

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT PROMOTES CONSUMER CHOICE IN FAVOUR OF SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL

Author(s): LAURA K HOBBS1; JOSIE W PHILLIPS2; AMY B STAFF2; AMBER GOSS2; LAURA FOGG-ROGERS1 and M D FARNON ELLWOOD3*

Despite the superior productivity, utility and economic benefits of palm oil compared with other oil crops, the palm oil industry often receives negative publicity for its environmental impact and there is widespread confusion over the perception of palm oil. The fact is that it is difficult to avoid palm oil consumption, and consumer boycotts will do little to resolve the social and environmental issues associated with oil palm agriculture. Instead, greater awareness of the importance of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) is needed. We used a mixed-methods survey to explore public awareness of palm oil, and understand the factors influencing sustainable consumer choice. Our survey, conducted in the Rainforest Biome of the worldrenowned Eden Project in the United Kingdom, a nation with relatively high environmental awareness, revealed that public awareness of palm oil was generally low and that consumers had poor knowledge of CSPO. We identified that the most significant barriers preventing consumer choice for CSPO products were unclear labelling, product availability and cost. We recommend that the palm oil industry focus on enhancing sustainability, promoting the benefits and increasing the visibility of CSPO in supply chains and final products, rather than waiting for consumer choice alone to drive change.

Keywords: , , , ,

Author Information
1 Science Communication Unit, University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom.
2 Centre for Research in Biosciences, University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom.
3 20 Baily Place, Cheswick, Bristol, BS16 1BG, United Kingdom.
* Corresponding author e-mail: farnon.ellwood@gmail.com


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