A survey conducted by People’s Movement to Stop Haze (PM.Haze) has revealed that 32 out of 33 famous restaurant chains in Singapore use palm oil. It is the main component of cooking oil and its unsustainable production is a major cause of the haze. This sparked the launch of the #GoHazeFree campaign to increase awareness of the widespread use of palm oil as cooking oil in restaurants and calls for restaurants to switch to haze-free palm oil. The campaign is supported by 19 local organisations and groups, including Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) and Vegetarian Society (Singapore).
In July of this year, PM.Haze approached staff at well-known restaurants and discovered that while almost all of the restaurants use palm oil, none of it was certified haze-free. Staff members that PM.Haze spoke to said that they were unaware that palm oil is a key ingredient in the vegetable oil they use every day. The survey covered 362 outlets from 33 restaurant chains in Singapore. A separate survey conducted earlier this year also found that less than 50 percent of the public is aware of the widespread use of palm oil in everyday products.
“In the past few months, we spoke to many businesses that use palm oil, but most were reluctant to switch, citing the lack of consumer awareness and demand,” says PM.Haze president Tan Yi Han. “We realised that consumers have to voice out their support for haze-free palm oil in order to drive change in the businesses. Many of these businesses have a wide regional presence, and if they go haze-free, it can create a ripple effect across the entire region as their competitors follow suit.”
To address this issue, PM.Haze announced the launch of the #GoHazeFree campaign. Starting 14 September, PM.Haze is asking members of the public to sign a pledge online at the #GoHazeFree website at pmhaze.org. Supporters are also invited to share photos on Twitter and Instagram with the #GoHazeFree hashtag. The #GoHazeFree website also has a short video produced by PM.Haze which provides more information on the use of unsustainable palm oil in local restaurants.
PM.Haze has also published a report entitled Your Guide to Haze-Free Palm Oil which includes a list of local suppliers that sell cooking oil certified by Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and can be downloaded frompmhaze.org. The report is complimented by a policy template for restaurants and other businesses and outlines the steps they can take to make the switch to haze-free palm oil. Based on PM.Haze’s analysis of existing palm oil production and certification processes, palm oil that is certified by RSPO under the segregated supply chain model is found to be closest to haze-free. Only palm oil certified under RSPO segregated supply chain model can carry the RSPO-certified trademark, a globally recognised eco-label, on its packaging. Restaurants, as well as other food outlets and supermarkets selling housebrand cooking oil, can go haze-free by committing to a palm oil policy with a time-bound implementation plan to procure only haze-free palm oil and switch their current supply to RSPO-certified sources.
“When the haze happened last year, the first thing that crossed my mind was that this was not the future I want my daughter Margaret to inherit. The food that we were eating actually causes harm to her through the haze. ” - Benjamin Tay, manager of PM.Haze
People’s Movement to Stop Haze (PM.Haze) is a local non-government organisation. PM.Haze aims to empower people with the knowledge, values and means to be drivers of global action to stop the haze and ultimately attain clean air for present and future generations. PM.Haze holds outreach events and campaigns to promote the awareness of the causes and solutions to the haze.
For more information on
- Details of campaign, please visit http://pmhaze.org/gohazefree-campaign-faq/
- Haze-free cooking oil guide and palm oil policy template, please visit http://pmhaze.org/take-action/switch-to-haze-free-cooking-oil/
For enquiries, please contact Zhang Wen (Ms.) at firstname.lastname@example.org.