Jane Griffiths first heard about palm oil when the Iceland advert was banned last year. It showed a baby orangutan who had lost his home due to palm oil related deforestation. Before long Jane had bought an orangutan cuddly toy for her grandson to take to school for show and tell, and as she investigated further with her grandson, she became more and more alarmed at what they found:
1) Huge swathes of rainforests are often cleared to grow palm oil.
2) Orangutans, elephants, tigers and rhinoceros are critically endangered in Indonesia as a result of deforestation.
3) Palm oil is used in pretty much every supermarket aisle (except for fresh fruit and veg).
4) If not grown sustainably, the impact for wildlife and the environment are extremely damaging.
Jane’s research galvanised her resolve. She could not stand back and do nothing. She knew she could make a difference, and she started in her own home.
With Christmas fast approaching, she was determined to make sure that her Christmas celebrations were not tainted by unsustainable palm oil. With the help of the Giki palm oil detector, she cleansed her Christmas treats – Quality Street was dumped, no more Cadbury’s chocolates either. Instead her family enjoyed Montezuma chocolate.
Initially a little put out, her family have now wholeheartedly got behind her. Her daughter is telling her friends in London about the issues with unsustainable palm oil and Jane’s husband always takes his Giki app before he sets out to do any shopping. Her other daughter also shops with Giki. For her, the carbon footprint is important. Grandson, Josh, is also careful to check for sustainable palm oil and uses the app with confidence and regularity.
‘I never buy anything without Giki badges to help me, and if they can’t, it goes back on the shelf’ explains Jane, who is determined to ditch all unsustainable palm from her household.
No more Nivea, Simple, Palmolive or Dove. Instead, she’s swapped to Aldi’s own brand Lacura for skincare, which uses sustainable palm.
And when Jane finds products she’s unhappy with, she lets the company know about it via twitter, and asks them to use sustainable palm oil.
Determined to do all she can to protect the environment for her children and grandchildren, Jane decided to take her Christmas home campaign a step further. As a former teacher, she knew how fascinated children would be and decided to take her quest to save the orangutans into schools in Cornwall.
She contacted deforestation, palm oil expert, Michelle Desilets, Executive Director of the Orangutan Land Trust and armed with a wealth of information, she has started taking the message to schools in Newquay.
Her assemblies have gone down well and the children are keen to do as much as they can to raise the awareness of sustainable palm oil in their own families.
And she has now teamed up with campaign and social media guru Jon Goodman to launch a movement to rid Newquay of unsustainable palm oil. She even found it was used in some local fish and chip shops!
She has also been in touch with Newquay zoo who are keen to support too. Watch this space for launch in the spring!
If you want to find out more about Jane’s work, follow her on twitter @griffjane.