What is palm oil?

Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palms. These trees are mostly grown on plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia and their oil is found in almost half the products in UK supermarkets, like your:

  • Chocolate
  • Shampoo
  • Lipstick
  • Margarine
  • Soap

So what is 'dirty' palm oil?

Huge areas of rainforest are torn down by bulldozers or burned to the ground to make way for palm oil. In Indonesia alone, an area the size of a football pitch is lost every 25 seconds. When these forests are destroyed, local people lose their homes and amazing species like orangutans are put in danger.

But palm oil doesn't have to be dirty. It's possible to source clean palm oil from responsible producers that don't destroy the rainforests or threaten orangutans.

Why are orangutans in danger?

Orangutans spend most of their lives in trees. High in the forest canopy they can live long, peaceful and complex lives and have relationships that are really similar to humans.

Bornean orangutan numbers more than halved between 1999 and 2015, mostly due to the expansion of palm oil plantations. When a forest is cleared to make way for palm oil, orangutans are left without a habitat. Worse still, some are brutally killed.

What is Greenpeace doing to end dirty palm oil?

In the past decade, we've persuaded brands including Nestlé, Unilever and Mondelez to sign global commitments to drop dirty palm oil in their products by 2020 – but with less than two years to go, their progress is pitiful.

That's why Greenpeace is demanding big brands keep their promises to get dirty palm oil out of the products you use. And we need your help to pile on the pressure.

How can I help end dirty palm oil?