Iceland’s Christmas advert raising awareness of palm oil has been banned… But we must watch it.

Iceland’s TV advert as part of their #NoPalmOilChristmas campaign has been banned but Iceland are using social media to make sure you see it. Rightly you should. Everyone knows palm oil has a stigma to it and it’s not ethical. But not everyone knows why or the damage it causes to our environment and the animals who rely on the rainforest. I’m so glad Greenpeace have done campaign because it is relatable to all generations and beautifully communicated. The advert is clever and thought provoking, you can watch below:

 

Why was the Iceland Christmas advert banned?

The advert has been deemed too political. The advert made by Greenpeace was aimed to raise awareness about the destruction of the rainforest and that the orangutan has become critically endangered due to the action of human greed. While one could argue it’s disgusting that something that needs addressed has been banned, arguably it’s led to far more publicity it would have got naturally.

 

What is palm oil?

Palm oil is a edible vegetable oil from the fruit of oil palms. It is mostly grown in Indonesia and Malaysia. The production and harvesting of palm oil is worth billions and for as long as there is a demand for vast amounts of palm oil it will stay that way.

Palm Oil farming

 

What is palm oil used for?

Palm oil is in products you use every day. Chocolate, shampoo, soap, lipstick, margarine and thousands more products. Here are some examples:

Palm Oil products.jpg

In 2017 the EU’s consumption of palm oil was a staggering 7.7 million tonnes. 61% of this was for energy use and 39% was used for food and animal feed. Palm oil is used for bio fuel, so we’ve simply switched from one problem to another. We’ve traded fossil fuels for deforestation.

 

What are the impacts of palm oil farming?

Due to the global demand of palm oil in Indonesia alone we are losing the size of a football pitch every 25 seconds. That’s in just one country. Palm oil plantations are in across the world:

palm oil map.png

The destruction of natural rainforests that have been growing for thousands of years are clear to see. The planet’s natural beauty destroyed for profit. This is the business of “dirty palm oil”.

Palm oil deforestation

The plantations are taking over the rainforest, habitats destroyed for money. A planet that is emitting more co2 than ever and we are losing more trees that combat the “greenhouse effect”. It’s also the rainforest’s inhabitants that are suffering, particularly the orangutan. Between 1999 and 2015 bornean orangutan numbers have halved and this is largely due to the expansion of palm oil plantations. Orangutan’s live high in trees and when rainforests are ripped down orangutan’s lose their habitats. Some are sadly even killed.

orangutan

But we can make a change, if we lower the demand of palm oil both in our consumer choices and backing campaigns ran by charities such as Greenpeace, we can make a change. Greenpeace have already persuaded companies such as Unilever, Mars and Nestlé to remove “dirty palm oil” from their products by 2020. With such a public awareness now of this issue it is more than likely more will follow.

Iceland have now promised to remove all palm oil from own brand products. Bravo Iceland on making your One Change Now, you just got yourself a new customer.

 

Related blogs:

2018, the year I saw climate change from my window.
Environmental damage, seeing is believing.
Benefits of recycling.

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