I saw this advert weeks ago by Green Peace and thought it was brilliant. The way it communicates the problem with palm oil is done in a really effective way.
The advert is a cartoon about a little girl that finds an Orangutan in her bedroom. The story is told in poetic way as a conversation between the little girl and the Orangutan. She asks him why he is in her room and he tells her about the deforestation.m for palm oil used in her products. It ends with her promising to help her new friend.
I’ve seen videos that show Orangutans being attacked in their natural habitat and it’s really upsetting. Iceland’s cartoon told viewers what is happening but in a way that could be viewed and understood even by young children. I would buy this story as a children’s book as it raises awareness and encourages discussion but done in a tasteful way.
I am really pleased that a main stream high street store is making such an open and public stance. Most businesses think with their pocket and give no thought to how their ingredients are sourced, choosing cheap over ethics.
However, Iceland Foods’ advert has been banned for having a political view.
This seems ridiculous to me. Some business are founded on their ethical views. For example, Body Shop was born as a cruelty free alternative for beauty. They used their store as a platform to educate consumers about animal testing. Their movement is what made them.
I wish more business would be transparent about their ethics. Instead, you have to visit their website and research the brand and sometimes even contact them to find out. Answers are often hidden or worded to purposefully be misleading. For example when brands claim to be against animal testing (except when required by law) or those that add a bunny logo to their product hoping consumers won’t realise it isn’t the leaping bunny.
The British government are yet to confirm their position on palm oil. The EU are making efforts to support sustainable palm oil production but as the UK are soon to be leaving the EU there are concerns they may not support sustainability for palm oil in a bid to secure a substantial trade agreement to replace Malysia’s fighter jets. To me that sounds like having your ethics bought. I sincerely hope this is not the case but you can read the emails on Green Peace’s website by clicking here.
Personally, I hope the ban of Iceland’s video raises awareness of deforestation – this is why I am sharing it with you. I don’t want Orangutans to go extinct. Sadly, that could be a reality in the next 10 years if we continue as we are. [source]
What can you do?
However, although Iceland are removing Palm Oil from all their own brand products they still be stocking products by other brands that contribute to deforestation so if you are avoiding palm oil, remember this.
Also, not all palm oil is bad. Some products need palm oil and it is an economic way of meeting consumer needs. Instead, look at buying products containing sustainable palm oil (RSPO).
A lot of the deforestation is caused by the meat industry for cheap beef (cattle) and Soya crops (mostly for animal feed). Therefore, meat eaters can effectively fight deforestation by buying meat that is locally sourced. Supporting your local farmer will also reduce your carbon foot print as it won’t have travelled as far. Try and find out if the livestocks feed is from a sustainable source – I’m not sure how easy that is to find out.
The last tip is to make conscious decisions about your beauty products. A lot of these purchases are luxury and you could go without (like makeup). Do you really look and smell good when you are destroying our planet and is it worth it?
What do you think about Iceland’s advert being banned?