UK Bans Heartbreaking Anti-Palm Oil Ad for Being Too ‘Political’

British discount grocery store Iceland is the first major UK supermarket to pledge to remove any products containing palm oil, as well as all plastic wrapping from its store-brand products.

The company recently released an animated commercial entitled “Rang-tan” and narrated by British actress Emma Thompson. Iceland wanted to offer their customers a Christmas without palm oil, the culmination of their anti-palm oil project.

The video, originally developed by Greenpeace, shows a baby orangutan coming to live with a child after its forest habitat has been destroyed by palm oil agriculture.

“There’s a Rang-tan in my bedroom and I don’t know what to do. She plays with all my teddies and keeps borrowing my shoe,” intones the little girl.

The orangutan replies, “There’s a human in my forest and I don’t know what to do. He destroys all of our trees for your food and your shampoo.”

Now Clearcast, the UK company that reviews and approves TV advertising, has banned the emotionally powerful animated video as overly political — although they pretend otherwise.

The company stated:

Clearcast have not banned the ad for being too political. The problem arises because the film was made by Greenpeace and the rules prevent adverts “inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature” from being broadcast on television.

Ah, yes, that old argument that goes: “We’d like to do the right thing but we are bound by rules that won’t let us.”

Iceland’s founder, Malcolm Walker, responded:

This was a film that Greenpeace made with a voice over by Emma Thompson. We got permission to use it and take off the Greenpeace logo and use it as the Iceland Christmas ad.

Since Iceland has removed any reference to Greenpeace, Clearcast’s reasons for banning the advertisement have no validity.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Orangutans have lost 55 percent of their natural habitat over the past 20 years, as forests are destroyed to be replaced by palm oil trees. Thanks to this loss of habitat, the orangutan population has decreased by 50 percent over the last 60 years.

Today it’s estimated that 25 orangutans die every day, as their forest homes are destroyed by bulldozers or by fire.

As Huffington Post explains, “To get palm oil, you need to chop down trees. But this isn’t just a small-scale operation, this is deforestation on a mass level. And, according to Greenpeace, it’s showing no sign of slowing down.”

In fact, 50,000 square miles of forests  are cleared every year in order to produce palm oil, which is used in numerous household products — from food to shampoo. If you start checking out labels, you’ll realize this oil is pretty hard to avoid in your supermarket purchases.

The World Wildlife Fund estimates that 50 percent of packaged items in your local grocery store contain palm oil. 

It’s popular with manufacturers because the oil palm tree is very efficient: It yields as much as much 10 times more oil per hectare than other crops like soy, rapeseed and sunflower.

It’s time to stop this mass deforestation.

Take Action!

If you agree, please sign this Care2 petition asking Trader Joe’s to be a leader in the fight to save orangutans and stop selling products with palm oil immediately.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo Credit: Getty Images


Emma L
Ellie L1 months ago

Thank you

Kevin B
Kevin B2 months ago

thank you for sharing

Caitlin L
Past Member 3 months ago

thank you

Olivia M
Past Member 3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

hELEN hEARFIELD4 months ago


John W
John W4 months ago

Thank you for sharing this :-)

John W
John W4 months ago

I hope everyone will sign and share the petition

John W
John W4 months ago


Magdalen B
Magdalen B5 months ago

You know the results of banning something? Millions of us have seen the advert and you can see it on Facebook. Guess where I'm going to be doing a lot of my shopping this Christmas.

heather g
heather g5 months ago

What a great pity this film was banned.