EPOA position on Iceland Christmas TV advert making use of Greenpeace Rangtan animation campaign

Posted on: November 14, 2018

@Iceland and @Greenpeace: ACT FOR sustainable palm oil if you want to protect rainforests

With its advert to stop using palm oil for its own label products ‘until all palm oil causes zero rainforest destruction’ the UK retailer Iceland has decided NOT to ACT for rainforest protection. To achieve deforestation free palm oil, we need to empower those companies that are already making the change on the ground, and challenge others to act too. Boycotting palm oil will not lead to less deforestation. By calling for deforestation free palm oil, but ignoring the possibility to create a global move towards sustainable palm oil, Iceland positions itself outside the solution that is already being supported by the majority of palm oil industry, civil society and governments.

The support and use of the Greenpeace Rangtan animation in Iceland’s advert is confusing and worrying. As a founding member of the Palm Oil Innovation Group, Greenpeace is committed to work towards deforestation free palm oil and calls against palm oil boycotts. Greenpeace’s recent Final Countdown report to reform the palm oil industry, provides data on ‘dirty palm oil’, traded and used by global palm oil companies. Instead of a boycott, the report calls companies to be more transparent and act upon their commitments. It is “now or never” to make a deforestation free palm oil supply chain a reality.

These messages are absent in the Rangtan animation in Iceland’s advert. This is confusing, because it creates conflicting messages around sustainable palm oil for all stakeholders in the palm oil supply chain, including consumers who would like to make a responsible decision and protect rainforests. We worry that this Greenpeace ambiguous positions will break down the industry support for sustainable palm oil. The palm oil supply chain and its stakeholders, including Greenpeace, is making large concerted efforts through private initiatives, certification and legislation to safeguard high value rainforest. While all stakeholders are increasing their efforts, a boycott by Iceland on all palm oil, including sustainable palm oil is putting progress at risk.

We call upon Greenpeace and Iceland to ACT for sustainable palm oil. Instead of allowing Iceland to ban palmoil while using their Rangtan animation, Greenpeace should use its leverage and power to move Iceland towards the same direction as it does with other brands and palm oil traders. They should encourage Iceland to join their roadmap towards sustainable palm oil. We need influential NGO’s such as Greenpeace to use their leverage to support brands and palm oil growers that are using deforestation free palm oil. Not push them towards the opposite direction.

As EPOA we disagree with the Iceland advert and the proposal to boycott all palm oil. We disagree because the message to boycott all palm oil:

  • sends a discouraging signal to producers of sustainable palm oil
  • sends a wrong and confusing signal to consumers that want to use their buying power to save rainforest
  • risks shifting sustainability and deforestation problems ‘out of sight’ to other vegetables oils

EPOA believes that the protection of rainforest is only possible when we cooperate with each other and empower those companies that make sustainable palm oil a reality.

We strongly advice Iceland to consider the risks of the alternatives by banning palm oil (see statement by RSPO), and instead buy sustainable palm oil to help generate an incentive for palm oil growers that make deforestation free palm oil a reality. And explain consumers about sustainable palm oil in its products and how they help create a deforestation free supply chain.