Iceland today announces that it will stop using palm oil as an ingredient in the production of all its own label food by the end of 2018. Today it can report that the project is already well underway, with palm oil successfully removed from 50 percent of its own label range; 130 products will have been reformulated by the end of the year.
Growing demand for palm oil for use in food products, cosmetics and biodiesel is devastating tropical rainforests across South East Asia. In Indonesia and Malaysia, where expanding palm oil and wood pulp plantations are a major driver of deforestation, many species are being threatened with extinction, including the orangutan, already critically endangered. Recently published studies show that Bornean orangutan numbers more than halved between 1999 and 2015, with only 70,000–100,000 individuals remaining.
Palm oil is currently found in 50% of all supermarket products, from bread to biscuits and breakfast cereal to soap. Despite this, 35% of consumers are unaware of what palm oil is.
Once informed about palm oil and its effects on the environment, 85% state that they do not believe palm oil should be used in food products.
Iceland has made this ethical decision to remove palm oil in order to demonstrate to the food industry that it is possible to reduce the demand for palm oil whilst seeking solutions that do not destroy the world’s rainforest.