Director & Founder
Thomas is a 20-year-old campaigner & speaker from Melbourne, Australia, who has been recognised as one of Australia’s most accomplished young change-makers. His life changed in 2010 at age 13 when he witnessed footage of a young, malnourished orangutan dragging her body through a scene of endless forest destruction. This was the first time Thomas was exposed to the impacts of unsustainable palm oil development.
Director of Research & Communications
Say No to Palm Oil was formed in 2010 with the aim of educating consumers about the palm oil crisis and providing them with ways in which they can help. The site has developed significantly in this time and now serves to provide individuals with simple actions they can take to reduce their consumption of conflict-palm oil, make their voices heard and give a little to support those working on the frontline.
MISSION: to empower consumers with the information, tools and resources necessary to help them put an end to the social and environmental impacts of conflict-palm oil and be part of the solution.
VISION: to have awareness of conflict-palm oil increase significantly amongst the general public and thus bring about positive change in consumer behaviour to benefit the forests, wildlife and people of Borneo, Sumatra and other affected areas.
While a large proportion of palm oil production causes a great deal of harm, the oil itself is not bad and in some respects has positive attributes. For example, palm oil yields significantly more oil per hectare than other vegetable oil crops. It is for this reason that avoiding all palm oil is not the answer, and focusing on growing the crop using more ethical and sustainable methods is a viable solution to part of this complex issue. However in contrast, trusting all companies that claim to source sustainable palm oil, which has proven to be relatively unreliable in recent years, is not necessarily the answer either. This is why we believe a balanced, holistic approach is necessary.
We think that consumers should focus on cutting down unnecessary consumption in general, thus removing some palm oil and other vegetable oils from their lifestyle. With products that are unavoidable, individuals can find alternatives that are either palm oil-free and instead use vegetable oil from a sustainable source, or contain genuinely certified sustainable palm oil. Consumers can also try making more of their own food and products, which is a brilliant way to live more sustainably.
We have developed a program called the "28 Day Palm Oil Challenge" to guide people through how they can make small lifestyle changes just like these and ultimately lead more sustainable, ethical and healthful lifestyles. See Take the Challenge for more info.
Mongbay.com is one of the world's most popular environmental science and conservation news sites. The site aims to raise interest in wildlife and wildlands while promoting awareness of environmental issues.
Rhett Butler, Founder & Director of Mongabay.com, has generously allowed us to use his incredible photographs from his travels to Borneo and Sumatra throughout our website. To view more of Rhett's photographs, click here, and to support Mongabay and their ongoing efforts to preserve our planet's natural beauty, click here.