Iceland drops palm oil – Greenpeace response

Publication date: 10th April 2018

In response to today’s news that Iceland will be removing palm oil from all its own brand products,
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said:

“Iceland has concluded that removing palm oil is the only way it can offer its customers a guarantee that its products do not contain palm oil from forest destruction. This decision is a direct response to the palm oil industry’s failure to clean up its act.

“As global temperatures rise from burning forests, and populations of endangered species continue to dwindle [1], companies using agricultural commodities like palm oil will come under increasing pressure to clean up their supply chains. Many of the biggest consumer companies in the world have promised to end their role in deforestation by 2020 [2]. Time is running out not just for these household brands but for the wildlife, the climate and everyone who depends on healthy forests for their survival.”



Deforestation to produce commodities including palm oil shows no sign of slowing down. Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) figures state that around 24 million hectares of Indonesia’s rainforest was destroyed between 1990 and 2015 [3] – an area almost the size of the UK. The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry indicates 2.7 million hectares of deforestation between 2012 and 2015 – that’s 1 football pitch every 25 seconds.


In 2010, members of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) pledged to do their bit to protect forests and limit climate change, with a clear commitment to clean up global commodity supply chains by 2020. Yet with less than two years to go before the deadline, Greenpeace found little progress had been made.


At the start of 2018, Greenpeace challenged 16 leading members of the CGF to demonstrate progress by disclosing the mills that produced their palm oil, and the names of the producer groups that controlled those mills. Publishing mill data would show whether brands had companies involved in forest destruction in their supply chains – a vital first real step towards eliminating it.


Under pressure from Greenpeace and other NGOs, eleven brands have now made steps towards transparency. General Mills, Mars, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever and ColgatePalmolive published in time for Greenpeace’s latest report Moment of Truth. Ferrero, PepsiCo and PZ Cussons published shortly afterwards. The others have so far failed to take even this basic step. They are Hershey, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Johnson & Johnson, and Smucker’s.


The next step would be for brands to remove suppliers, producers and traders known to be destroying rainforest from their supply chains, and then to take responsibility for investigating the remaining producer groups to identify any that are clearing rainforests or peatlands, or exploiting workers or local communities.


Brands must work with traders to get concession maps, and other data necessary to enable successful monitoring, into the public domain. Ultimately, brands and traders must exclude any producer that refuses to reform, even if the palm oil it is supplying to them comes from different concessions to those it is clearing.


Download images here:


Greenpeace International Moment of Truth report is available at:


Notes to editors
[1] In the last 16 years more than 100,000 orangutans have gone from the wild with palm oil partly to blame:
[2] Zero deforestation and climate commitments:
[3] Figures cover natural forest loss, taken from:
1990-2012: FREL Annex 5.1, p93, gross deforestation 21,339,301ha
[4] 2012-2013: MoEF (2014) Deforestasi Indonesia Tahun 2012-2013, Lampiran 1, Tabel 1.1, gross deforestation 953,977ha
2013-2014: MoEF (2015) Deforestasi Indonesia Tahun 2013-2014, Lampiran 1, Tabel 1.1, gross deforestation 567,997ha
2014-2015: MoEF (2016) Deforestasi Indonesia Tahun 2014-2015,  Lampiran 1, Tabel 1.1, gross deforestation 1,223,553ha