UK supermarket's viral orangutan ad slammed by oil giant

Bloomberg

The banned Iceland TV advert, which has been viewed more than four million times on Youtube and more than 12 million times on Facebook, featured a sad orangutan named Rang-Tan which had been displaced from its home by deforestation caused by the palm oil industry.

Malaysia is also increasingly subscribing to production and supply of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) and has voluntarily adopted internationally accredited sustainability standards.

Retailers should not simplify the issue of deforestation to use it as a marketing gimmick, RSPO Chief Executive Officer Darrel Webber said in an interview from Borneo.

Iceland had pledged to remove palm oil from its own-label products such as pizza, potato chips and mince pie.

The ban had spurred public outrage over the Green-peace animated short film, with some protesters collecting over one million signatures for an online petition calling for the advertisment to be aired on national television.

"We endorsed a universal, transformative, and integrated agenda, meant to strengthen transparency and inclusivity in the RSPO system, increase implementation of the RSPO standards, boost market uptake of sustainable palm oil through shared responsibilities, and create an enabling environment for our shared vision of market transformation".

But while many of us have heard of palm oil, not everyone knows WTF it's actually used for.

Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) chief executive, Datuk Darrel Webber, welcomed the new principles and said, "Today, we endorsed a universal, transformative, and integrated agenda, meant to strengthen transparency and inclusivity in the RSPO system, increase implementation of the RSPO standard, boost market uptake of SPO through shared responsibilities, and create an enabling environment for our shared vision of market transformation".

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The participants are expected to be able to give the right information about the palm oil industry in Indonesia.

As the RSPO meets to renew its sustainability commitments, one major challenge facing the sector is that less than 20 percent of the world's palm oil is now certified as sustainable.

The ingredient is contained in 50 percent of all supermarket products.

"We approve of sustainable palm oil and applaud the work of the RSPO, but we do not believe that it has gone far enough", Iceland's Walker said.

The ad has drawn ire from the Malaysian government, which called it unfair and misleading. "We will not be cowed or stand by idly when advertisements such as the nasty one created by Iceland is allowed to wrongly influence the minds of the people in markets that are crucial to us", Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok said in a statement on Friday.

In the first three days, participants would be given lectures regarding policy, facts and discoveries, the palm oil business or organizational structure in general, as well as research and development.

The environmental group accused palm oil suppliers to snack giant Mondelez International Inc., which makes the famous black and white cookie as well as Cadbury chocolate bars, of deforestation and destroying orangutan habitats in Indonesia.

Put simply, boycotted palm oil would need to be replaced by other types of vegetable oil to meet global demand - and that could actually make matters worse.

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