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Iceland’s “Rang-tan” advert, depicting an animated orang-utan sheltering in a child’s bedroom, does the job.

Those of you who haven’t yet seen the advert taken from an earlier campaign created by Greenpeace, this is your chance to join over 30 million other people at the time of writing this article.

That’s right. This advert has already been watched more than 30 million times, despite not appearing once on television. 

Produced and edited by Greenpeace and narrated by actress Emma Thompson, it highlights the devastating impact of the Palm Oil Industry, a cause that is finally becoming public debate. It joins many other campaigns such as the anti-plastic movement which is rocking the political stage at the moment.

 What is Palm Oil?

Palm oil derives from the fruit of palm oil trees and is normally quite cheap, which is why it’s proved so popular amongst manufacturers. It is versatile and has a long shelf-life with a high melting point that makes it not only useful in cooking and baking, but manufacturing margarine, cosmetics and other leading products.  It can also be used as a biodiesel.

What is the environmental consequence?

Palm oil grows in tropical rainforests where there has been widespread clearing of forests in order to make way for more plantations. The United Nations Environmental Programme has stated that the area’s most vulnerable to deforestation are those in Indonesia and Malaysia, where a large majority of palm oil is produced.

Research by the Rainforest Rescue showed that the equivalent of 300 football pitches are being destroyed in every hour, with the consequences leading to high CO2 emissions and a harmful loss of biodiversity.

Indonesia has now joined the world’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide while a mass scale of deforestation has devastated jungles in Sumatra and Borneo, resulting in the loss of habitat for many endangered species such as orang-utans and other endangered species.

To add to this devastating news, demand for palm oil is expected to double by 2030 and estimated to exceed this by triple that in 2050.

Is there an alternative to palm oil?

Palm Oil production is an extremely valuable source of income in these developing countries and the issue of balancing poverty whilst committing to environmental issues can be a headache to create a solution.

There are other sustainable resources such as coconut oil and rapeseed oil, but while companies are increasingly using sustainable or organic palm oil others raise a valid point that the most ethical option is to remain completely palm oil-free which is not really a feasible option some may say?

What you can do

Avoid buying products with palm oil, which can be hard, but if you do then look out for certified sustainable palm oil.  Sign petitions, such as Change.org’s Release Iceland’s banned Christmas Advert on TV and Greenpeace’s Oreo, Drop Dirty Palm Oil campaign.  Support charities such as Greenpeace, WWF, and the Rainforest Foundation.  Follow and circulate the hashtag #nopalmoilChristmas on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

These are just a few suggestions but either way, share this article with your friends and get the conversation started #nopalmoilchristmas and tag in the@EthicalCompany

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