Cat Barton, a wildlife conservationist, became interested in the issue of palm oil and its impact on wildlife and forests after a Chester Zoo trip to visit orangutan conservation field partners in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo a decade ago. This ignited a passion and drive to make a positive change in what seemed to be a broken system. An innovative and ambitions behaviour change project ‘Sustainable Palm Oil Communities’ was created to help solve the palm oil crisis one city, one village, one restaurant and one household at a time. Join us as we find out more!
Cat joined Chester Zoo’s Field Programmes team in 2008 after studying for a B.Sc. in Zoology followed by a M.SC. in Wildlife Conservation and Management at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Her key interests and specialisms are in commodity driven deforestation, sustainable agriculture and supply chains. She has developed a strong network of national and international stakeholders with the aim of driving sector change to protect tropical rainforests and reduce deforestation to benefit both biodiversity and climate change. She is responsible for developing field projects that link wildlife conservation with sustainable agriculture and forest risk commodities with a current main focus in Indonesia and Malaysia on sustainable palm oil.
Through her work with BIAZA Cat is a member of the UK Roundtable on sustainable palm oil and sustainable soya, and she co-created the ‘Sustainable Palm Oil Communities’ project, an ambitious community-based behaviour change programme with the aim of driving a cultural shift towards deforestation free sustainable palm oil in order to protect wildlife. This project saw Chester become the world’s first Sustainable Palm City, and they are working with other communities across the UK with the aim of expanding the programme internationally.
Cat is in conversation with Dan Ryan.
Dan is an environmentalist and educator who has worked at Eden Project on many of its flagship projects since its early days. He runs Eden’s MSc in Sustainability, in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University, and co-founded the sustainability leadership programme, HotHouse. He now works in Eden’s International team, which is creating a network of projects around the world, each telling stories about different pieces of the ecological puzzle. Dan is fortunate to have explored rainforests on three continents and believes connecting people with nature and the restoration of ecosystems are the keys to securing a thriving future for people and planet.