UK supermarket Iceland has announced that they are banning the use of palm oil in their own brand products, amid the environmental issues with using palm oil. They are the first UK supermarket to make this change. The collapsing orangutan population has spurred on the change, with palm oil successfully removed from 50 per cent of their own brand items, and that 130 products will be reformulated by the end of the year.
This year Iceland has already bought out over 100 new items without palm oil, including their new items for summer. In 2019 they will have launched over 200 new items that do not contain palm oil.
The growing demand for palm oil to be used in food products, cosmetics and biodiesel has meant that rainforests around the world are being destroyed at an alarming rate. In Indonesia and Malaysia, where palm oil plantations and wood pulp plantations are the biggest source of deforestation, many species are at threat of being extinct, with orangutans already listed as Critically Endangered.
Palm oil is found in 50 per cent of all supermarket products including bread, biscuits, cereals and soap, with 35 per cent of customers unaware of what palm oil is. However, when consumers are aware of what palm oil is, 85 per cent of consumers do not agree that it should be used in food products.
Speaking of the news, Greenpeace UK’s executive director, John Sauven said: “Iceland has concluded that removing palm oil is the only way it can offer its customers a guarantee that its products do not contain palm oil from forest destruction. This decision is a direct response to the palm oil indutry’s failure to clean up its act.
“As global temperatures rise from burning forests, and populations of endangered species continue to dwindle, companies using agricultural commodities like palm oil will come under pressure to clean up their supply chains. Many of the biggest consumer companies in the world have promised to end their role in deforestation by 2020. Time is running out not just for these household brands but for wildlife, the climate and everyone who depends on healthy forests for their survival.”