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Palm Oil

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products containing palm oil

Palm oil is found in one

in ten products including chocolate, margarine, biscuits shampoo and detergents.



Under threat

of extinction:





Sumatran ElephantForest elephant


Sumatran Tiger

Sumatran tiger cub





Demand for palm oil, a vegetable oil present in many of the products

we buy, is contributing to the destruction of the world's most precious rainforest


One in ten food products on our supermarket shelves are directly contributing to the destruction of the world's rainforests. It is used in everyday products and a number of top brand foods, including Walkers’ crisps, Kellogg’s cereals, Heinz soups and some Cadbury Schweppes chocolate.


The booming trade in palm oil is fuelling the destruction of rainforests in South East Asia, and leading to human rights abuses and devastating pollution.

Large scale palm oil plantations are replacing the forests in Indonesia and Malaysia at an alarming rate, wiping out 80-100% of wildlife in the area, forcing local communities from their land and destroying their livelihoods. In Indonesia, the forests are disappearing at a rate of more than 2 million hectares a year - an area greater than the size of Wales.

The demand for profit from this rapidly expanding trade is leading to human rights violations against indigenous communities, who are losing their land and being forced to work on the plantations, often for less than the minimum wage.

Indonesia and Malaysia have some of the world's longest lists of threatened wildlife. Of the more than 400 land mammal species of Indonesia, 15 are critically endangered and another 125 threatened. In Malaysia with nearly 300 land mammal species, 6 are critically endangered and 41 threatened. The numbers of threatened species climb higher when terrestrial reptiles, amphibians, and birds are included. Moreover, certain animals, such as the orang-utan, are only found in these countries. When their rainforest habitat vanishes, so will they.

Tigers, orang-utans and countless other species are being driven to extinction while governments stand idly by and allow companies to get away with it. This problem will not be solved until there are clear rules to ensure the products found in our shops are produced in a way that does not harm communities and the environment.


  Ethical shopping alone won't change the behaviour of the palm oil

  industries.  New rules are needed to hold companies accountable for

  the damage they do.


  Friends of the Earth believes that changes must be made to UK company law to prevent

  British companies operating in ways that damage the environment overseas through the

  market for palm oil. 

  It is calling on the UK Government to:

  • Introduce new legal obligations on companies to report annually on the impact of their operations, policies, products and procurement practices on people and the environment in the UK and abroad

  • Introduce legal duties on directors to take reasonable steps to reduce any significant negative social or environmental impacts

  • Introduce foreign direct liability to enable affected communities abroad to seek redress in the UK for human rights and environmental abuses resulting from the actions of British companies

Click here to take action


Friends of the Earth