Palm oil is terrible for the environment. But apparently you’re not allowed to say that on British TV. A video banned by UK television featured a cartoon depiction of an orangutan searching for a new home because his had been destroyed by palm oil production in his native Borneo habitat. Clearcast, the body responsible for vetting TV ads in the UK, deemed it a violation of the UK’s 2003 Communications Act prohibiting political advertising.
Yet the video was neither political nor subjective. It was a spot on characterization of an environmental reality. Palm oil, which occurs in countless processed food and toiletry products, is responsible for massive scale deforestation throughout the humid tropics. The use of the product directly impacts the survival of orangutans, Sumatran rhinos, tigers, Malaysian tapirs and other charismatic species, as well as the ecosystems in which they thrive.
The video, which was created by Greenpeace, was intended to be this year’s Christmas campaign for Iceland, a major UK grocery store chain that pledged to remove palm oil from all its own-brand foods. Kudos to Iceland, and let’s all do our part in reducing our use of this product.
Check out Iceland’s Christmas video banned by UK television: