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Why is palm oil bad for the environment, what did Iceland's Christmas ad say about it and how is it involved in deforestation?

But some brands are now campaigning against the use of the vegetable oil product in an effort to save the environment. This is everything you need to know.

Why is palm oil bad for the environment?

Unknown to most people in the UK, palm oil production has resulted in displacement of indigenous peoples, deforestation and loss of biodiversity – including the death of hundreds of thousands of orangutans.

Palm oil is the most commonly produced vegetable oil and 66 million tons is produced each year.

The warm, humid conditions in the tropics are ideal for oil palm farming, which means vast areas of rain forest in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa are being wiped out to make room for the plantations.

This releases huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

Indonesia, the world's largest producer of palm oil, temporarily overtook the United States as one of the most polluting countries in the world in 2015 due to its greenhouse gas emissions.

The impact of palm oil-based bio fuels on the environment is three times worse than traditional fossil fuels.

How is palm oil involved in deforestation?

Because oil palm plantations currently cover more than 27 million hectares of the Earth’s surface, vast amounts of deforestation has taken place to make room.

The orangutan, Borneo elephant and Sumatran tiger are all close to extinction due to palm oil production because their habitats are being destroyed and indigenous people who have lived in and protected the forest for thousands of years have been kicked out of their own land.

What did Iceland's Christmas ad say about palm oil?

Iceland's Christmas advert has been banned from TV as it was deemed to be too political.

The animated advert shows a girl in her bedroom asking an orangutan why it was there.

It doesn't like her chocolate bar or her shampoo, as they contain palm oil.

The orangutan explains to her the reason she's there is because humans have destroyed her home, tearing down the forest to make room for oil palm plantations.

The moving animation was created in partnership with Greenpeace after Iceland became the first UK supermarket to to pledge to remove palm oil from all its own-brand products.

Iceland’s founder, Malcolm Walker said: “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. It would have blown the John Lewis ad out of the window. It was so emotional.”

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