Asda palm oil ban to save rainforests

Also from today’s Guardian – I was at the New York Botanical Gardens all afternoon, so I’m just catching up, now. They’re okay, if you’re interested. But, then, I’m from Sydney: our Royal Botanic Gardens are lovely, free, and right on Sydney Harbour:

Royal Botanic Gardens

It’s hard to compete. Anyway:

Two of the country’s biggest retail names are to ban the sale of palm oil from unsustainable sources because of fears that it is leading to the destruction of rainforests. Palm oil has become one of the world’s biggest traded commodities and is now the unidentified ‘vegetable oil’ in an estimated one in 10 of all products sold in Britain, from chocolate to cosmetics to animal feed.

The booming demand in Europe and Asia has led to growing concern that huge swaths of rainforest are being cut down to make way for plantations – damaging important eco-systems on which animals and local people depend – and threatening the survival of one of the world’s last great apes, the orang-utan, the poster boy for a gathering global campaign. Rainforest destruction also accounts for about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for climate change.

Asda has become Britain’s first supermarket chain to tell suppliers it will not accept products unless they can guarantee their palm oil is from sustainably run plantations. Body Shop, the toiletries and cosmetics company, has established a sustainable organic supplier in Colombia. Asda has banned palm oil sourced from the worst affected regions in Borneo and Sumatra and within a year hopes to have banned all unsustainable palm oil from 500 products.

Here’s the fun part: Asda is owned by Wal-Mart. Yes, while having its own oversight-site (asdawatch), Asda is at the same time trying – probably with some success, here – to wrong-foot the goody-two-shoes crowd. Americans beware (!), this is becoming a fashion, over there. The Guardian tells us that, in the last 10 days alone,

That carbon neutral computer sounds interesting. I imagine so long as you do not drive it home or switch it on, it stays that way?

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