Shi Zhou: Sustainable Palm Oil Activism in His Community

by Alice Soewito

This article is part of a two-part series on individuals who have voluntarily stepped up within their own communities to try and bring change.

As a grassroots leader in Tampines, Shi Zhou expresses a strong sense of civic-mindedness towards his community, especially with regards to environmental causes. During his time in Temasek Polytechnic, Shi Zhou was the Environmental Club’s President. After school, he joined PM Haze’s BLUE Leadership Team Program, and has done research on aquaculture wastewater treatment. Now serving his National Service Term, Shi Zhou continues to pursue environmental causes, conducting a self-initiated survey on palm oil activism in his own community.

In 2017, Shi Zhou watched a documentary on the many communities in Indonesia facing the impacts of haze, and was moved deeply by their plight. He remarks that what they faced was much worse than what we experienced in 2015. Yet, his experience with haze has convinced him that ‘every individual can play a part in fighting haze,’ both in Singapore and overseas.

‘Our Haze-Free Tampines Hub’ is a project Shi Zhou has then embarked on, which aims to educate and encourage eateries at One Tampines Hub to make the conscious switch to certified sustainable palm oil. Despite never having conducted public surveys and studies before, Shi Zhou has found invaluable information on the public’s perception on palm oil.

The Our Tampines Hub survey found that there is a lack of awareness as to what this means and entails, and how it impacts Singapore and its residents. However, customers are nonetheless interested in supporting eateries that use sustainable palm oil and doing the right thing. Support of these eateries may come in willingness to pay more to absorb the cost of sustainable palm oil. Majority of respondents would be willing to pay less than $0.50 extra, which would cover the cost of palm oil within good reason. Others may choose to frequent the eateries more, and give eateries a chance to cover cost through increased volume of sales. Shi Zhou mentions that he “is elated that the survey results show majority of the residents are willing to support eateries that use sustainable palm oil.”

Shi Zhou’s activism is courageous and limitless. We hope that Shi Zhou’s efforts will continue to grow, and we wish the very best for him during his NS term. To read the results of the survey on the receptivity towards sustainable palm oil at Our Tampines Hub, download it from our publications page here.

Written by Alice Soewito, PM Haze Intern
Alice Soewito is an intern at PM.Haze, and a university student studying Environmental and Sustainability Sciences. She hopes that she can work on environmental social justice issues in the future, and is especially interested in responsible finance.

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