Volunteer efforts creating the momentum to #GoHazeFree

Persistent volunteer efforts to get local eateries and companies to #GoHazeFree is building pressure for them to switch to sustainable cooking oil. PM Haze volunteers have been reaching out to local eateries while two students from the group Students of Singapore (SOS) Against Haze started an online petition calling on Old Chang Kee and Polar Puffs to use sustainable cooking oil. WWF has also launched an online campaign to get consumers to pressure local brands on their use of palm oil.

As part of the #GoHazeFree campaign launched in August 2017, PM Haze volunteers have been:

  • Raising awareness among eateries and the public about haze-free palm oil
  • Encouraging members of the public to participate in asking eateries about haze-free cooking oil and
  • Securing commitments from eateries that use palm oil to switch to haze-free cooking oil.

In response to PM Haze’s campaign, two Singaporean eateries, VeganBurg and NomVNom, have switched to using 100% sustainable palm oil as cooking oil.

SOS campaign "Stop Frying Our Forest"The two students, Regina Vanda and Gauri Shukla, have circulated a petition calling on curry puff makers Old Chang Kee & Polar Puffs to “stop frying our rainforests”.  Their aim has been to raise company awareness of the unsustainably produced palm oil’s contribution to deforestation and haze in the region.  They selected the Old Chang Kee and Polar Puffs because curry puffs are an iconic local snack using significant quantities of oil in their preparation.  To date they have gathered almost 5000 signatures. The comments on the petition page suggest that supporters of the campaign would like to see companies take corporate social responsibility seriously and use sustainable palm oil.

Old Chang Kee has responded advising that they are qualifying suppliers that are both sustainable and healthier. Polar-Puffs also says on their Facebook post that “our vegetable oils currently used are from sustainable sources (RSPO Certified)”.

PM Haze, supports the SOS cause. Elaborating, Tan Yi Han said,  PM Haze has reached out to eateries to get them to use certified-sustainable palm oil noting that VeganBurg has already come on board.

Of course, the problem is much wider, so the SOS students have contacted more than 20 other local firms including BreadTalk and Ya Kun Kaya Toast. While not suggesting companies using unsustainably produced palm oil should be boycotted, they want home grown companies to adopt sustainable practices, joining foreign firms like IKEA that already do so. IKEA, for instance, uses certified-sustainable palm oil for candle-making, food production and food preparation.

WWF Singapore contacted 27 local retailers, manufacturers and food service brands with a survey to assess their buying and sourcing of palm oil. Only 10 companies responded.  Of regional brands responding to WWF and only three have public commitments on palm oil use while amongst the global brands 60% have palm oil commitments.

In response WWF-Singapore has launched a campaign to get consumers to pressure local brands on their use of palm oil, by sending emails to the companies via https://palmoil.sg.

By speaking up and asking questions about the cooking oil in their food, consumers can help the above efforts and keep up the pressure on our eateries and companies. Every voice and every choice matters in getting them to #GoHazeFree.