The British supermarket chain Iceland will stop using palm oil in own-brand products by the end of 2018 for environmental reasons.
The increasing demand for palm oil is linked to the devastation of rainforests in Southeast Asia, according to environmental campaigners such as Greenpeace. The oil has been used for everything from soap and biscuits to biofuel.
Palm oil production was linked to 8% of global deforestation from 1990 to 2008 and is linked to the threat of species such as the orangutan. Responding to environmental campaigning, the EU has introduced labelling for products using palm-oil. In a statement to the BBC, Iceland’s Managing Director Richard Walker said that there is “no such a thing” as sustainably managed palm oil plantations.
For the moment, Iceland’s ban will apply to the range of private-label products but not other products. Although this will increase the cost of production, Iceland is committed not to pass the cost to customers. Iceland is currently able to replace palm oil in 50% of its recipes.
In the past Iceland moved to ban GM-grown crops in its own-brand goods and recently committed to banning plastics in their packaging by 2023.