The issue of palm oil is highly controversial, and for good reason. The cheaply-produced oil comes at a great cost to the environment, being responsible for the mass deforestation of rainforests, the burning of the land (particularly, peatlands) creates harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and the destruction of irreplaceable habitats is causing the deaths of iconic endangered species like the orangutan and Sumatran tiger.
The issue is so severe that between the years of 1999-2015, HALF of Borneo’s wild orangutan population disappeared. Palm oil is estimated to be in about half of all products on supermarket shelves, in everything from baked goods and snack foods to cosmetics and toiletries, but UK-based supermarket chain Iceland is doing their part to counteract these detrimental effects of palm oil with the announcement that they plan to omit the use of palm oil in all their own-brand products by the end of 2018!
This decision makes Iceland the first UK supermarket to instate such measures. Half of their own-brand products across their 900 stores will have palm oil eliminated immediately with the rest of their own-brand items set to be palm oil-free by the end of the year. This move is estimated to cut the use of 500 tonnes of palm oil per year.
Iceland managing director Richard Walker commented on the decision, stating to the BBC, “Certified sustainable palm oil does not currently limit deforestation and it does not currently limit the growth of palm oil plantations … So until such a time as there is genuinely sustainable palm oil that contains zero deforestation, we are saying no to palm oil.”
This is not the first time Iceland has taken action for the environment. They also eliminated the use of GM-grown crops in their own-brand products, as well as announced plans to eliminate or drastically reduce the amount of plastic packaging in their own-brand products by the end of 2023!
This is exciting news and we hope Iceland serves as an example for other retailers across the world!
Many people are unaware of the issues surrounding palm oil, so please do your part to spread awareness and share this with your network!
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