Iceland’s ‘orangutan-friendly’ advert banned for being ‘too political’

Watchdog bans Iceland’s ‘orangutan-friendly’ Christmas advert for being ‘too political’ because of its stance on controversial palm oil

  • Festive commercial features friendship between young girl and baby orangutan
  • The orangutan tells the girl about his forest and shows a digger ripping up trees
  • It comes as Iceland goes about removing palm oil from all of its own-label food
  • Palm oil is controversial as forests are being razed to make room for plantations 

Iceland’s Christmas advert has been banned after a watchdog deemed its orangutan-friendly story was ‘too political’ due to its criticism of palm oil.

The supermarket chain’s festive commercial features the friendship between a young girl and a baby orangutan.

The orangutan tells the little girl about his home and the advert shows a digger ripping up trees.

‘There’s a human in my forest and I don’t know what to do,’ the orangutan says. ‘He took away my mother and I’m scared he’ll take me too.’  

Iceland’s Christmas advert has been banned after a watchdog deemed its orangutan-friendly story was ‘too political’ due to its stance on palm oil

The orangutan tells the little girl about his home and the advert shows a digger ripping up trees

The advert eventually ends with the caption: ‘Dedicated to the 25 orangutans we lose every day.’

It comes as Iceland goes about removing palm oil from all of its own-label food amid concerns over its impact on wildlife.

The oil is used in a huge number of products on supermarket shelves ranging from bread to soap.


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Millions of acres of forests across Indonesia have been burned to make way for plantations producing palm oil. 

However, the demand has led to the destruction of tropical rainforests across south-east Asia.

Clearcast, the watchdog for adverts on the UK’s main commercial channels, said it was concerned the commercial ‘doesn’t comply with the political rules’.

The supermarket chain’s festive commercial features the friendship between a young girl and a baby orangutan

Clearcast, the watchdog for adverts on the UK’s main commercial channels, said it was concerned the commercial ‘doesn’t comply with the political rules’

Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet, and it is in about half of all packaged products sold in the supermarket.

Some 61 million tonnes were produced in 2015.

Palm oil production was responsible for 8 per cent of global deforestation between 1990 and 2008, as huge areas of forest were cleared for palm oil production.

This has been devastating for wildlife and local communities who have been displaced.

The boom in palm oil production has also been blamed for contributing to the near extinction of the orangutan, with thousands killed every year from deforestation in Borneo and Sumatra.

By far the biggest producers of palm oil are Indonesia and Malaysia but the UK imports the majority of its palm oil from Papua New Guinea.

It comes as Iceland goes about removing palm oil from all of its own-label food amid concerns over its impact on wildlife

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