2 Nov 2009

Tribal groups hail decision to ban palm oil advert

just saw this in the Morning Star good for the Penan and good for the star really proud to work for them!

Monday 02 November 2009by Louise Nousratpour Printable Email South-East Asian tribal groups have hailed the British government's decision to ban a "misleading" advert for Malaysian palm oil as a major blow to the credibility of the industry.

Members of the hunter-gatherer Penan tribe in the Malaysian part of Borneo island who have already lost much of their land to the industry said: "Oil palm plantations have not benefited us at all - they have only robbed us of our resources and land."

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) banned the magazine advert placed by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, which claimed that Malaysian palm oil was "sustainable" and contributed to "the alleviation of poverty, especially amongst rural populations."

The British advertising regulator ruled in September that these and other claims made in the advert were misleading and could not be substantiated.

The Penan tribe said in a statement: "Our people welcome the ban. How come the advert claimed that palm oil helps alleviate poverty when oil palm plantations have destroyed our source of livelihood and made us much poorer?"

Survival International, the movement for tribal peoples, warned that plantations and logging were destroying the forests the Penan hunt and gather in and polluting the rivers they fish in.

The group is calling on the Malaysian government to halt plantations and logging on the tribe's land without their consent.

Palm oil is used in many everyday grocery products and is increasingly being used for biofuel.

Welcoming the ban, Survival International director Stephen Corry said: "Claims that Malaysian palm oil is green and people-friendly will not wash, especially with the Penan. The industry's expansion onto their land is a disaster."

The ASA investigated the advert after Friends of the Earth and members of the public objected to it.

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