Orangutan takes to London streets after Iceland Christmas ad banned

Mindy Sparks
November 16, 2018

ICELAND has unleashed an animatronic orangutan on the streets of London after its Christmas TV ad, highlighting how palm oil production threatens the species, was banned. It will be controlled remotely by a specialist puppeteer who has studied the movements of real orangutans, to maximise verisimilitude.

It comes after the supermarket chain's festive advert was last week banned by regulators for being "too political".

The commercial, voiced by actress Emma Thompson and originally produced by Greenpeace, features a cartoon baby orangutan - "Rang-tan" - warning its rainforest home is being cleared for palm oil plantations.

A petition on Change.Org calling for the banned Iceland TV advert to be allowed to appear on United Kingdom television attracted nearly 750,000 signatures, in part due to promotion from high profile figures such as James Corden and Michael Gove.

Palm oil is mired in controversy, with warnings that "sustainable" versions are not preventing deforestation, while there are concerns that a switch to alternative oils could have greater impacts on habitat destruction elsewhere in the world.

At the end of 2017, 96 per cent of its palm oil was traceable back to mill and 99 per cent was from suppliers with policies aligned with its own, the company said.

The maker of Oreo cookies has become the latest target by Greenpeace in its campaign to stop the destruction of rainforests for palm oil.

Richard George, of Greenpeace, said Iceland's advert had "raised the debate" and he reminded the big brands they had "the power to change the industry".

Nearly 25,000 hectares of orangutan habitat and 70,000 hectares of rainforest was destroyed between 2015 and 2017 in Indonesia, according to Greenpeace's analysis of deforestation by 25 palm oil producers that were cross-referenced with supply chain information published by Mondelez and other brands, it said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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