Breathe easy with this survey of NTU canteen vendors

by Benjamin Tay

This article is adapted from a joint report by published by Breathe Easy and PM Haze.

Just in – More than 80% of canteen vendors in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) use palm oil in their cooking.

Agricultural practices around oil palm farming are the major causes of haze. Specifically, planting on peatlands increases the likelihood of haze and potential release of carbon back into our atmosphere. Companies that offer Haze free cooking oil, certified by the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil are committed to  ‘No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE).’ We want to support haze free cooking oil to prevent haze and protect our human communities and ecological landscapes.

As part of our ongoing advocacy against haze, PM Haze and Breathe Easy NTU have teamed up to advocate for NTU to become the first haze free campus in Singapore. Breathe Easy NTU, interviewed 44 canteen vendors. Here are our key findings.

More than 80% of vendors used palm oil in their cooking.

91% of palm oil had halal certification. Of the 91%, 18% had healthier choice and 3% had RSPO labelling (1 stall)

3 main reasons vendors will change their oil: cost, quality, and health.

$1 price difference between RSPO-labelled oil and non-labelled oil.

The results clearly show that there is still a wide gap in the adoption of haze free cooking oil in food establishments in NTU’s canteen. One of the key reasons is the lack of brand awareness around the RSPO label as well as the haze free objectives that the certification represents. The cost barrier to adoption is relatively low, considering that cooking oil is not the main ingredient in food preparation.

We hope that this report will continue help to push for NTU to become the first university in Singapore to #GoHazeFree.

You may download the full report here.


Written by Benjamin Tay, Executive Director, PM Haze
Benjamin is newly appointed at PM.Haze, he is committed to solving issues of ecological and social justice through transboundary haze activism. Benjamin first joined PM Haze under the mentorship of PM Haze’s co-founder, Tan Yi Han, as he wanted people to go beyond adaptation strategies and find solutions for the root causes of haze.