As December is closing in, the Christmas adverts have started. However, not all have made it to our televisions. Iceland’s campaign has been banned from airing, as it has breached advertising policies. It has been deemed as “too political”.
This year, the supermarket partnered up with Greenpeace to highlight the issues concerning the obtainment of palm oil.
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand: all countries that are suffering at the hands of palm oil production.
The industry is connected to severe issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation and animal cruelty. According to the World Wildlife Fund, every hour a segment of the rain-forest - the size of 300 football pitches - is cleared for palm oil production. Because of this, more animals are adding to the critical endangerment and extinction list.
In the last twenty years, 90% of the orangutans’ habitat has been destroyed. The UN described it as “a conservation emergency.” Perhaps this is why Iceland chose the orangutan to become their icon for their campaign against palm oil manufacturing.
Many have wondered why this advert has been appropriated as political. The message is an environmental one after-all. Iceland have collaborated with Greenpeace; the environmental organisation had to prove that it was not a political party according to the 2003 Communications Act, but, unfortunately, they were unable to provide sufficient evidence.
But maybe this campaign will be more effective than it would have been if it was allowed to be advertised? The publicity across multiple platforms - whether it was through social media or word of mouth - has really emphasised the need for change. We cannot keep extracting palm oil like we do, when so many other alternatives are available, as Iceland has demonstrated.
This newly popularised issue has resulted in a petition banning the sale of products containing unsustainably-sourced palm oil in the UK. As of the 14th of November 2018, the signatures stand at just over 60,000. If it reaches 100,000 signatures within the next thirteen days, then the issue will be considered as a debate in parliament.
It is our opportunity to change the world in which we live.
We can save our planet, and the animals on it. All we must do is speak. If you feel strongly about the banning of unsustainable palm oil production, then head to https://petition.parliament.uk and make a change.