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UK bans Malaysian palm oil advert

Ecologist

3rd November, 2009

Second advert from palm oil industry lobby group is banned for its sustainability claims

A magazine advert that endorsed the sustainability of palm oil has been banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) for making unsubstantiated and untruthful claims.

The advert, produced by the Malaysia Palm Oil Council (MPOC) and entitled 'Palm Oil: The Green Answer' addresses the criticisms levelled at the palm oil industry, including deforestation and unfair treatment of farmers and indigenous peoples.

It states: ‘These allegations – protectionist agendas hidden under a thin veneer of environmental concern – are based neither on scientific evidence, nor, for that matter, on fact.’

In banning the ad, the ASA said: 'We considered that, in conjunction with claims such as "puts minimal strain on the environment", readers would infer from the claim that palm oil was sustainable and would not have an adverse effect on the environment.'

This is the second MPOC advertisement that has been banned by the ASA. The first was a television advert banned in its current form for similar reasons. 

According to the Adjudication record of the advert on the ASA website, it 'misleadingly [implied] that palm oil plantations were as biodiverse and [sustainable] as the native rainforests they replaced.'

Useful links
ASA ruling

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