Household brands like Kit Kat, Dove soaps 'wrecking Asian rainforests'

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London, November 16 : Household names such as Kit Kat, Flora and Dove soaps have been held responsible for the large scale destruction of Asian rainforests for palm oil plantations.

In Britain few consumers are aware of the scale of such destruction. A survey found 75 percent of consumers knew little about palm oil even though it is found in nearly half of all cosmetics and processed foods.

Owing to the increasing demands for palm oil plantations millions of acres have already faced the clearance threat, with 20 million acres of rainforest already destroyed in Malaysia while Indonesia uprooted its 25 million acres.

Palm oil, which is favoured for its low production costs and resourcefulness, has its vendors in 400 brands such including Olay, Pringles, Unilever - the world's largest buyer of palm oil at about 1.3m tons a year.

However, owing to the consumer's growing awareness about the product they use, manufacturers are believed to fear a strong reaction and are turning to 'sustainable' palm oil as a more eco-friendly option.

Times Online reports, Round-table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in Bali, an industry body controlled by Unilever is set to have its meeting on the matter.

Unilever said: "The RSPO is not moving as fast as we would like, but it is a step in the right direction. We're committed to drawing all our palm oil from sustainable sources by 2015."

However, Belinda Fletcher, a senior forest campaigner, said: "The RSPO must ban its members from destroying rainforests and peatlands and kick out companies that won't change their ways."

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