Wednesday, 5 May 2010

In the palm of your hand

So...Palm Oil is something that really pees me off - I hate the fact that this oil is so commonly used (not always in an obvious way which screams to me that 'they' know it's wrong to use it) anyway, it is in nearly everything we consume or use. That is quite staggering in itself. The worst thing is that damage that it does to the rainforest and to the homes of the Orangutan (which are almost extinct now due to this trade).

Now I don't hate the farmers of this oil - they are desperate for money - I really don't like the people behind the development of such valuable land (quite often illegally) for such a trade.

What I really really can't understand and can't forgive is that Palm Oil could be produced in a sustainable way. Now I know some people are really dumb and really selfish and don't understand the need for all of natures creations but we all need the rainforests to survive. Does that make it personal enough?

Anyway - to show I don't just rant I decided to write to all the main UK supermarkets to express my concern in them hiding the use of Palm Oil, using Unsustainable oil and also not giving the consumer enough choice about whether they use it or not. I also told them to not just send a generic response to me as I thought this issue deserved more than that. I wanted them to give the consumer alternatives. For example to use sustainable Palm Oil to produce a chocolate bar would cost about 1 pence more - who would not be happy to pay that - but we have to be given the chance to make that choice as I can understand that 'going without' isn't a very good option or alternative.

I wrote to Sainsburys, Asda, Waitrose, Morissons, Tesco, Marks & Spencers and the Co-op. Sainsburys wrote back almost straight away. A very long letter. Thanking me and passing on information of a bunch of websites for me to visit to see what they are doing and how they are pioneering to make the use of Palm Oil in their stores sustainable by 2014...now that's a long way off still but at least it's quite a big deal - ALL palm oil in ALL Sainsburys to be sustainable. Now I like the sound of that. Morissons wrote back a few days later. They were making plans and they thanked me for my letter. Then I read how they were hoping to make big changes in 2009.....I stopped reading - seeing as we are quite a way into 2010 - thanks for the generic letter guys! That same day I also got a reply from Waitrose. The shortist letter of all and no thank you's. They kept talking to me about a policy they were working on. They have a policy to do something about it but I failed to full grasp what they were actually doing rather.........the others have yet to reply.

So, for now - Sainsbury's win.

Panorama did an interesting article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_8523000/8523999.stm

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