After thousands of people campaigned against the use of animal fat in the UK’s updated plastic £5 note, reports claim that an alternative has been proposed which isn’t much better. The Bank of England have stated that the only viable alternative to the use of animal fat is palm oil. However, this brings up an additional array of ethical concerns in itself. Despite palm oil being vegan-friendly, it is linked to excessive deforestation and horrific harm to animals.
Shortly after the new £5 note was released, a campaign began that eventually reached 134,000 signatures, in an attempt to halt the use of tallow which is made from cow fat. Last week, bankers claimed that their plastic suppliers, De La Rue and Innovia Security, produced twin reports together with Efeca, which looked at environmental impact, and came to the conclusion that palm oil is “the only practical alternative”.
After the announcement of this, it is likely that the bank will face pressure from environmentalists, who understand the catastrophic impact that palm oil plantations have on the environment, which includes “destruction of forests, with significant negative impacts on wildlife, as well as on the local indigenous human populations”. Whilst the bank is looking at ensuring that its supply of palm oil is sustainable, some claim that there is no such thing as sustainable palm oil, as habitats where animals live are still being destroyed to make way for the huge plantations to farm the oil.
The main concern is the survival of orangutans, whose habitat is within the tropical forests that are cleared for the oil, and has resulted in their dwindling population numbers. Palm oil farming is currently the biggest threat to the survival of orangutans in Indonesia, whilst the fact that it is blended into petrol as a biofuel component means that it is further negatively impacting the climate by being burnt. WWF said palm oil “has benefits as it produces more oil per land area than any other equivalent oil crop”, but warned that “people don’t want the bank notes in their pocket to come with such a high environmental cost” The Bank of England is planning to expand its polymer banknotes to £20 notes, and therefore is seeking public views before it makes a decision this summer.
I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here