Iceland removes plastic and palm oil pledges from website following criticism

Iceland has removed a reference on its website to its palm oil and plastic pledges, following criticism that these commitments have not been met.

Sustainability campaign group, Changing Markets Foundation called on the frozen food retailer to update its website which originally read: “We pledged to remove plastic packaging from our own label products by the end of 2023 – reducing our plastic packaging usage by 29% in the first two years.

“We promised to remove palm oil from our own label food – 450 products without palm oil as an ingredient.”

In 2018, Iceland banned the use of palm oil in its own-brand products in a stand against tropical deforestation. However, the frozen food specialist reversed the ban earlier this year after seeing a shortage of sunflower oil in the week’s following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Iceland’s managing director, Richard Walker announced in a blog post that the retailer will not achieve its goal of becoming the first UK supermarket to be ‘plastic neutral’ in 2022 and its plans to see its own-label packaging plastic-free by 2023 are currently “impossible”.

READ MORE: Iceland launches new ‘Doing it right: right now’ campaign

“Iceland should immediately stop using these banners on its marketing materials and replace them with banners saying they won’t meet their pledges,” Changing Markets Foundation director, Nusa Urbancic told The Grocer.

“If consumers keep choosing Iceland because they believe they are greener due to their commitment to phase out plastic, this will be greenwashing.”

Speaking of Walker, Urbancic added: “For example, he does not say, while we will fail to completely eliminate plastic, we will reduce it by 60%. This would be a measurable and an honourable thing to do.”

Iceland Foods’ online reference to any palm oil and plastic commitments have been removed as of today, 26 July, with the website featuring a welcome message from Walker instead.

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