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Cadbury ‘pushing orangutans towards extinction by wrecking habitat for palm oil’ (independent.co.uk)
326 points by dsr12 on Nov 13, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 145 comments

Kraft are a notably shitty company, as is Mondelez, the subsidiary owner here.

2010: One week after they acquire Cadbury the new owners sack 400 workers, despite pledging otherwise in order to get the deal waved through.

2016: They further renege on promises to use Fairtrade cocoa beans... but keep the logo on products to fool consumers.

2017: Mondelez pay £0 tax on profits of £185m in the UK.

I wouldn't give my dog their chocolate, but the larger point is that this is not the kind of company we or the orangutans need around.




> I wouldn't give my dog their chocolate

You really shouldn’t give your dog any chocolate.

It is considered poisonous to most dogs

According to my renown biochemistry professor it is poisonous to many humans too, they just don't know it. If you have any health problems try avoiding chocolate for a month; doing this experiment certainly won't harm you.

What was his or her stated mechanistic reason for believing this? I ask as a regular consumer of dark chocolate.

Theobromine, a chemical in coffee, affects the heart by imitating the neurotransmitter adenosine and also inhibits some subtypes of phosphodiesterase. Dogs can’t metabolize it; humans can, but there may be some effects. FWIW I’m skeptical of the prof’s claim.


Thanks! Apologies for taking this so far down the rabbit hole, but if dogs are unable to metabolize theobromine, then how does it leave their system?

"Can't" isn't quite accurate - what it really means is that the rate of metabolism is significantly slower. Dogs can (and will) eventually metabolize and eliminate theobromine, but the rate is slow enough that the compound can build to toxic levels quickly following ingestion.

In general, mammals are capable of metabolizing and/or eliminating nearly any foreign organic compound over a long enough timespan, thanks to the mechanisms of xenobiotic metabolism. The liver contains a large number of enzymes of the Cytochrome P450 (CYP) family, which are able to catalyze reactions with a wide variety of compounds as the first (and most critical) step of metabolism. These reactions typically make the compounds hydrophilic, making it possible for the kidneys to pick them up and eliminate them. However, different animals express the various CYP enzymes at different levels; some are much more effective at metabolizing certain compounds (e.g. theobromine) than others. So, if an animal lacks a certain CYP enzyme (or it is expressed at a very low level), they will also metabolize certain compounds much slower (other enzymes, which are less efficient, will have to do the job).

So, basically: dogs lack certain enzymes in their liver which means that they metabolize theobromine much slower than humans - but that doesn't mean they don't metabolize it at all.

Just to tack on to this, this is the cause of almost all drug-drug interactions and many adverse drug reactions. CYP450 is an incredible family of enzymes.

> if dogs are unable to metabolize theobromine

They can, just not very well.

We can too, but not perfectly. To get a lethal dose of theobromine a healthy human adult would need to eat about 10Kg of milk chocolate in a very short space of time (less for dark chocolates).

For most small dogs a normal ~40g bar is enough to cause concern, if an even smaller dog (i.e. breads that are sometimes called "toy" dogs) consumes a standard bar you should take it to the vet immediately as that could likely be quickly fatal.

My ~25lb dog once consumed half a bar of 80% dark. I gave her ~4 Tbs of hydrogen peroxide per the internet's suggestion and she basically drank it like water, without issue >.>

I like to believe her excessive food consumption throughout her life was training for this moment where she would need to metabolize poison.


It’s theobromine in chocolate. Present in most chocolate, but concentrated in baking or dark. It’s barely present at all in most medicore milk chocolates like the ones kraft makes large scale.

A average chocolate bar and and average dog won’t get poison effects from theobromine, but could have a really bad reaction to that make calories and sugars. An average dog would need multiple average chocolate bars.

Very much true for baking or dark chocolate though. A dark bar and a small dog can be a bad combination. Some dogs show a fair resistance to it but could still see liver damage.

My jack Russell got into a pound of tootsie rolls. Found her twitching on the ground outside. Took her to the vet and she was put on an IV and she lived to 16.

I once had a huge black Labrador Retriever (45 kg, and tall, not fat) that got up onto the kitchen countertop and ate almost an entire 32oz box of chocolate-almond bark. The only ill effect he apparently suffered from it was getting yelled at. Some of the other grossly inappropriate things he had ever eaten include a 60W incandescent light bulb, two toilet cleaner tank pucks, and the blue dog vomit caused by eating toilet cleaner pucks.

This was not an animal with discerning tastes. Nevertheless, sweet milk chocolate doesn't have a lot of theobromine in it, and he was rather large for a lab. Didn't live to 16, but larger breeds usually don't.

I have heard that for an N-pound dog, it would take approximately N ounces of dark chocolate to be fatal.

That's encouraging, because such a scenario seems very unlikely, even by accident, but I do not intentionally give my dog any chocolate at all.

I grew up with a Golden Lab, your story doesn't surprise me :)

Scary! I wonder if it was theobromine poisoning or too much sugar? I guess tootsie rolls could be related to dark chocolate.

Caffeine is also present in many chocolates and chocolate products, and is also more toxic to dogs than it is to humans.

Indeed, an old dog I had managed to eat a stash of easter eggs and she was very ill, on a drip. There is dog-safe chocolate available from pet shops

Why bother, though? A dog will be just as happy eating its own vomit.

Because carrying around dog-vomit as a dog treat isn't really socially acceptable?

No, it wouldn't.

If there is vomit nearby my parents dog will choose it over it's own food

Irene Rosenfeld also refused to attend a parliamentary hearing on Kraft's behaviour.[1]

Personally I think that should be treated in the same way as contempt of court and an arrest warrant should have been issued against her.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2011/may/23/mps-condemn...

Yeah proper thing to have done would be cancel hearing and have her detained until the next hearing date.

Like in a few weeks or months, or maybe next parliamentary session. Who knows.

Mondelez also own Tolberone (who removed segments from their bars, and spaced the rest out to keep the bar size the same). And Chocolate Orange, which now has a scallop out of each segment. I don't buy anything modelez anymore, I don't want to finish eating a chocolate bar more annoyed than before I began.

I used to live near the Terry's factory in York. The smell of melting chocolate wafting over the river was divine. Sadly, that was shut down and sent overseas just like Cadbury, despite being a well loved company and great local employer.

Kraft/Mondelez might be good at cut-throat capitalism, but many people in the UK (including myself) despise this type of nasty and unethical behaviour. Buying a company only to trash it completely is just not on.

To put this into perspective: palm oil for biofuel and heating currently makes up around 60% of the palm oil imports into Europe.

Greenpeace has been targeting European food companies over palm oil where the majority of the increased palm oil demand from Europe that has directly caused the clearing of rainforest to meet this demand, has been for biofuels because the EU had a mandatory biofuels component in fuel. This biofuels policy was driven by anti-nuclear organisations like Greenpeace, and yet they blame food producers whose demand has actually been sustainable without the need for massive clearing out of forests before biofuels came into the picture.

The EU has now moved to ban the use of palm oil for biofuel, but it's only being phased out slowly until 2030. This is being replaced by rapeseed oil in Europe. Unfortunately protecting the seeds of this crop was one of the biggest uses of neonicotinoid pesticides which is blamed for the decline in bee populations. The EU now also put a moratorium on using these pesticides so now older and more harmful pesticides are being used instead and with the increased demand I am worried about the impacts we'll see in the future.

Yet Greenpeace targets food companies. It's because Greenpeace is a political organisation, their purpose is to be anti-corporation and they just use the environment just as a tool to that end. They target retail brands while staying silent when governments destroy the environment intentionally or through badly conceived regulation.

I disagree with the pseudo-scientific stance Greenpeace and other similar organizations have about nuclear power, but saying they're to blame for our use of palm oils for biofuels is ridiculous.

Sure they campaigned against nuclear, but that doesn't mean they approve of whatever other means the EU has been using as an alternative, as they themselves say on their website[1].

I'm sure if they got their way we wouldn't have nuclear or "bad" biofuels, and would just be paying a higher tax rate to scale up our sustainable energy production. That the EU has been dropping nuclear power without that investment in sustainable energy isn't Greenpeace's fault.

1. https://www.greenpeace.org/archive-eu-unit/en/campaigns/Clim...

We can shuffle the numbers around all you like, but if we don't use cheap energy then more of our resources go to energy production and standards of living will drop. A "higher tax rate" is slight of hand argument for "we'll make the costs so convoluted that no-body will understand the cause". It isn't a solution to the problem of making people's lives more materially comfortable and satisfying.

It is all very well to say that orangutans _should_ be more important than a standard of living, but in practice people will say one thing and vote in a completely different way when they are actually tested. Orangutan are not important compared to keeping families struggling between financially viable and non-viable on the good side of the margins.

Honestly I find the arguments about dropping standards of living unconvincing. What do we need all these energy for? Mining bitcoins? Powering online ads? After I stopped driving car every day my standard of living has only gone up. I am sure stricter limits on energy consumption will only unleash untapped creativity and spawn the whole new industries and create tons of new jobs.

Well, we use different sources for different things, but as a rule literally all fabrication and industrial activity uses energy. Eg, some big ones,

* Producing aluminium (Apple products) * Producing & storing food (Haber process is energy -> fertiliser @ ~1-2% of worlds energy, refrigeration will also be a big deal) * Transport (of food and goods) * Heating (probably a bigger deal in places like Europe)

Energy is secretly quite fungible - eg, we can burn fossil fuels directly for grid electricity and use grid electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels if the price differential between the two gets large.

If general energy costs go up, food prices go up. That is the most obvious link between energy prices and poverty, but there are other less clear ones.

I find it similar to arguments that try to scare me with "but then we won't be able to eat meat for every meal."

"Well, good," I think, "sounds like exactly what we need."

I'm ok with taking a hit if it means more wildlife.

I'm ok with going early 1900's if it means we can get down to 1-2 gigatons of carbon a year instead of nearly 40 this year, and probably more than 40 next year, so we can buy some more time until we can start sequestering excess carbon we've put into the environment before stuff starts getting really bad.

We are generating 4x the electricity we were in just the early 1970s, that sort of increase isn't sustainable and we're already seeing consequences of our actions. Unless a fleet of alien ships show up in orbit and charitably give us a bunch of fusion reactors... we've got to start making some pretty radical changes in our lives.

In the UK for example the electricty usage has gone up from 192 TWh to 300 TWh, which is not great but not 4x either. The increase is mostly down to the developing nations around the world. So we'd have to go back the 1950s to see a 4x reduction (73 TWh in 1956).


Yet if you look at the data, western countries are responsible for way more carbon per capita than the rest of the world:


I'm not ok with going early 1900s. Most people aren't.

I keep saying "nuclear", you keep saying "no". So I'm not going to consider myself part of the problem.

>I keep saying "nuclear", you keep saying "no".

Uhhhh, I never said no to nuclear. I said at best it's a bandaid.

We have a few decades to make some very considerable changes, maybe two centuries to find alternative means of energy (fusion, mining asteroids for PV and battery materials etc as there's a very finite amount of the materials needed for manufacturing batteries and panels on earth too).

People like to say nuclear is our savior but, at current energy production levels, with a moderate estimate for continued growth, there's maybe 100 years of fuel there. Nuclear just isn't a solution for the world's energy needs, it however is a GREAT solution for generating considerable amounts of power in small spaces (ice breakers, submarines) and for portable power for emergencies like with the Russian floating nuclear power stations (Google the Akademik Lomonosov).

> there's maybe 100 years of fuel there

At least you have not made the mistake of inclusion "waste" as a problem in the same post.

Breeder reactors solve this. Yes, fuel will be significantly more expensive because of them. But all these "issues" with nuclear (except capital intensivity, that will likely stay) will go away.

it's not the average HN user that would be meaningfully impacted by such changes.

Nuclear is not a cheap source of energy these days; the strike price for Hinkley Point C is higher than that offered to most wind farms.

Look at the guarranteed price of electricity from those wind farms.


Two firms said they were willing to build offshore wind farms for a guaranteed price of £57.50 per megawatt hour for 2022-23.

This compares with the new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant securing subsidies of £92.50 per megawatt hour.

Greenpeace has been targeting non-sustainable practices in biofuel production - and the ill thought out legislation that led to this for at least the last 10 years, so it is factually incorrect to say that they have been 'staying silent'.

Palm oil for biofuel/heating constitutes 55% of palm oil imports, but food and feedstock usage accounts for 40-45%, so it's still a significant area of use

Understandably a campaign in this particular area is going to be more visible to the end consumer because of the companies that it targets.

And everything is political.

"It's because Greenpeace is a political organisation, their purpose is to be anti-corporation"

Where did you get that from? Greenpeace has a history of working with corporations to improve their practices and promoting the efforts of corporations to engage in sustainable production:




> They target retail brands

This is necessary if they want public support because the general public tend to look at matters much further away then immediately under their nose as being nothing they can do anything significant about, so it is hard to get them engaged even if they actually care.

Furthermore, from a cynical sounding but unfortunately true PoV: if you can bring an issue down to "this product/company you deal with every day" many social influencers will jump on the band wagon even if they don't really care...

It is not specifically that they target retail brands over all other organisations, but that those are the campaigns that get most public pushing & traction so are the ones you are exposed to more commonly.

> while staying silent when governments destroy the environment intentionally or through badly conceived regulation.

This is demonstrably not true, and I shall prove my point by providing as many well researched references as you have for your assertion... :-)

Less facetiously: your own post contradicts this point by mentioning their strong opposition to nuclear power (while I understand their stance I disagree with being as dogmatic: it is dangerous but the danger is understood and (if well managed until other tech is more ready in a generation or two) offers a less damaging solution overall than other practical options in the near/middle term, and some arguments I've seen include significant scientific misunderstanding or misrepresentation).

A strong anti-nuclear stance is hardly just going after retail brands.

I hear you, but I also don't want any palm oil in my food. What happened to just using butter, lard, sunflower and olive oil? Just don't eat too much of it and it's not a problem.

Palm Oil is dirt cheap.

And it tastes really good, which is why it's being used. It's a saturated fat that nobody has heard of.

It's almost like nuclear energy is cleaner for the environment and more long-term sustainable than burning any sort of carbon based fuel, including biofuels. Who would have thought it would be so? Certainly not Greenpeace.

I just don't understand what Greenpeace has against nuclear power. The Chernobyl disaster has very well demonstrated that even the worst case scenario, while it sucks for people, is not at all bad for the environment.

In emissions terms I understand that nuclear power is far from 'low carbon', once you include the emissions involved in construction and fuel generation.

I think a lot of greens are wary of nuclear power as they see it as a front for nuclear weapons (don't forget the 'peace' in Greenpeace's name!).

Environmentalists generally advocate decentralised solutions that give people autonomy (e.g. rooftop solar). Nuclear power is basically the opposite of that.

It doesn't matter anyway, nuclear power isn't a solution. At best it's a bandaid.

First, mining uranium is not exactly environmentally friendly and those involved in the mining process are at a considerably higher risk of lung and non-lung cancers.

Second, it takes about 10 metric tons of raw uranium to make enough low enriched uranium to generate 400 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. If you take known reserves, and estimated undiscovered reserves, we only have 200ish years worth at current energy demands.

Energy demands increase over time, for example we are generating 4x the energy we were in the early 1970s and more and more people are being able to afford electronic devices, if you go adding electric vehicles in worthwhile numbers you'll see a rapid spike as well so if we switched the entire world over to uranium based power, we might have 50 years worth.

Even if you then use the waste from those reactors, via a different process like YC funded Oklo Inc is attempting to do using nuclear waste as an energy source, you still might only buy the world a century of clean nuclear energy.

The amount of fuel that you're quoting assumes that we don't ever reprocess the spent fuel. While the US doesn't do this due to proliferation concerns, it's possible to dramatically increase the longevity of nuclear power by doing so. This is likely what Oklo is doing.

All we need are a couple of centuries to develop better technology than nuclear. We don't need it forever. It buys us time until we can develop storage and eliminate the need for fueled baseload power entirely.

>First, mining uranium is not exactly environmentally friendly and those involved in the mining process are at a considerably higher risk of lung and non-lung cancers.

Hey buddy, the mining isn't much cleaner for the lithium, the cobalt, the REEs, the copper, or really anything required for PVs or the batteries which store their energy. And at least most of the uranium supply is in developed countries.

It's not economical anymore compared to renewables once you factor in decommissioning costs.

Heck if you actually factored in the externalities then coal/oil/gas would also not be economical.

This is a quite questionable statement. There was a post here at HN a few days ago [1] and the article [2] says:

"Meanwhile, global warming lurches ahead. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow. So do solar and wind power. But do you know how much of the world’s primary energy comes from fossil fuels today? It’s 81 percent—the same as in 2006."

I didn't check the numbers by myself, but it sounds reasonable: while renewable sources grow, the consumption grows as well. So maybe we need nuclear power too in addition to solar/wind/etc? I don't see too much alternatives around.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18411991

[2] https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/why-we-nee...

Coal has been growing in developing nations because it's "cheaper" than renewables because the externalities aren't priced in.

Nuclear isn't an option, it's simply too expensive compared to renewables.

Here in The Netherlands there's pressure to close the last coal power stations. The liberals (i.e. Republicans minus the religious and racist blocks) have been pushing for new nuclear power stations only for the energy suppliers themselves to turn around and call them lunatics because renewables are better.

> Nuclear isn't an option, it's simply too expensive compared to renewables.

Sure, let's ignore energy storage and subsidies altogether. I would believe e.g. solar thermal in Spain to be cost-effective, but these empty claims of "cheap renewables" are tiring.

Greenpeace were against nuclear weapons originally, especially nuclear weapons testing. They protested effectively enough that the French government DGSE blew up their ship and killed a photographer.

Then they were against the dumping of nuclear waste at sea.

> Then they were against the dumping of nuclear waste at sea.

I don't get that either, seems like the ideal way to get rid of it. Cheap, secure and with negligible impact on people or the environment.

The more dangerous stuff is both chemically toxic and bio-accumulative. The ban on dumping chemical waste at sea was instituted (after pressure from Greenpeace) because in certain areas it was starting to breach safe levels for human consumption.

I can easily understand why Greenpeace, or anybody, would not dream about having a lot of people killed in another Chernobyl and ratio cancer skyrocketing for decades. Is just a matter of common sense.

Where "environment" we mean environment were humans can live. Otherwise one can claim that other non habitable planets are part of the "environment" too.

Sources or it didn't happen

Have you heard of Google? </sarcasm>

Here's a starter for 10:


Interestingly the figure quoted here is half rather than 60%, and it seems the EU want to phase it out entirely, which might explain Greenpeace's "targeting of food companies" and relative lack of apparent interest in biofuels (assuming that's a thing).

Yes I'm aware that I can search Google for facts.[0]

What I'm interested in are the sources that the author is using so that I can read them, and then compare to searches I might conduct myself.[1]

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0oa3Qiz5tw

[1] https://study.com/academy/lesson/comparing-and-contrasting-s...

Saying it that way will be much more helpful for the conversation. When people say something very easy like "Sources or it didn't happen", my normal gut reaction is to think "That person is just trying to waste my time because they have a contrary stance". Even better would be to say something like "Could you post the sources you used because this source[1] seems to say something different".

Sometimes when you are honestly trying to convey some information, people who are contrary are just shouting you down. It's usually better to ignore them because otherwise you end up going down a rabbit hole of their choosing. But, at least for me, if I see that someone is genuinely interested in exploring the subject I'll usually go the extra mile and prepare the information I have. Sometimes it leads me to find out I'm wrong, and I'm always grateful for the prompting.

> When people say something very easy like "Sources or it didn't happen", my normal gut reaction is to think "That person is just trying to waste my time because they have a contrary stance".

Agree. To me it almost feels like a pre-programmed response/reaction or, at best, something that might be said to try and be funny, which can be frustrating depending on the context.

The reason for the moral outrage aimed at Cadbury comes from their early history, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadbury. It's a great example of the Quaker model of doing business where social improvement was part of the mission of the company.

Now that the evil Mondelez (formerly Kraft Foods) owns them, it's open season on the not so nice things that modern business gets up to. However given that palm oil is used in everything it's a little cheap of The Independent to try and manufacture outrage against what was a beloved, British institution.

Just avoid products with palm oil, though that's getting rather hard to do. Don't bother wasting your time with this kind of junk-food journalism.

Nothing like redirecting the conversation by implying there's "outrage" that's somehow "manufactured", yes?

Particularly because it sidesteps the things the company actually did (areas razed to the ground include 25,000 hectares of habitations in Indonesia that are home to the critically endangered orangutan) while at the same putting the blame on consumers (just do xyz, why wouldn't you).

And who can forget those pesky journalists, reporting on stuff - how dare they.

That company did not raze hectacres of forest. They paid another company in their supply chain to do it.

IMO, this is exactly what illogical manufactured outrage looks like. We can place blame anywhere down the line: workers in Indonesia who personally work to produce palm oil; the company that hires those works; Mondelez for buying the palm oil; customers for eating Cadbury eggs. I'm being told to hold Mondelez morally responsible for the situation when they are not. They certainly have the most power to stop doing what they're doing. That doesn't stop another company from buying palm oil.

Ultimately, the Indonesian people need to care enough about their orangutans to protect them. Or everyone needs to stop buying palm oil.

"My supplier did it" is not a valid excuse for ducking responsibility. If you put the demand on your supplier, and they do an unethical thing to supply that demand, then part of the blame lies on you for not having (a) done the due diligence to ensure that your supplier was above board and (b) checking that they could, in fact, meet your demand without doing illegal or unethical things. If you have no responsibility for what your suppliers do, then you could delegate practically any negative externality of your corporate practice to your suppliers.

The argument here is that Cadbury is effectively turning a blind eye (intentionally or negligently) to what their supplier is doing to meet demand. For an example of companies which actually do care about their responsibility all the way up and down the supply chain, go have a look at the Supplier Responsibility statements and reports put out by big companies like Samsung (https://www.samsung.com/us/aboutsamsung/sustainability/suppl...) and Apple (https://www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/).

> Just avoid products with palm oil, though that's getting rather hard to do.

It's infeasible without spending a lot of time studying the tiny print on the packaging of almost every item you buy apart from produce, meat, bread, and dairy. And even then some people will end up having to rigorously change their shopping pattern. This is in addition to all the other environmental and ethical issues in the supermarket: animal welfare guarantees, chocolate that doesn't screw the farmers over, sustainable fishing, local produce, and of course choosing to shop with the goal of eating healthy in that hall of temptations.

This is not something consumers can fix buy voting with their wallets. It's just too abstract: palm oil is used in so many products that have no strong link to that issue (unlike meat and seafood).

If is perfectly feasible. How often do you buy new products?

I skipped major part of sweets that I liked and that is mostly it. Wasn't big problem either.

But saddest part is that in EU boycott worked and it changed nothing due to use of palm oil in biofuels - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/26/how-palm-oil-b...

Well, probably a majority of us agree that this can be controlled from the top and not have to cross our fingers and rely on low-informed consumers to change things.

> If is perfectly feasible.

Only when it comes to food. It's impossible to ascertain the source of cleaning products' ingredients.

Depends where you live, most products with palm oil here in Europe are part of non-essential products, you just need to avoid the big brands and buy more traditional products. For bread, you just need to buy real bread and not white bread.

Eeeeh. Even "traditional" products get "enhanced" with palm oil. I was buying certain mainstream-but-local cookies for a long time since they had no palm oil. I double-checked the label some time ago and they put in palm oil now. Now idea when the changed happened. I inspected every single make of cookies (I love cookies, thankyouverymuch) in several chains of supermarkets and pretty much every option had palm oil. So far, my only option is either super expensive "farmers' market" style cookies where significant part of price is for fancy packaging and buying experience. Oh, and I've to drive across town to one of the few lcoations.

I just want a damn bag of cookie without any BS :(

Make your own, with 100% butter. Takes 5 minutes, and tastes so much better it's not funny.

Palm oil is barely fit for human consumption, and it tastes bad. When mass manufactured products are no longer fit for purpose, it's time to ditch them.

I do the same for bread as well. Just bought a 25kg sack of organic white flour which will keep me going for a few months. With practice, takes just 10 minutes to make a loaf of bread or some batch rolls (without a breadmaker). The taste, consistency and quality of it is again much better than any of the mass-produced stuff, which makes it worth that little bit of time to prepare.

I used to have a recipe for cookies I called "15 minute cookies" because you could be eating them 15 minutes after you thought of making them - yes, including mixing, preheating oven, cooking - which was always an irresistible thought. Sadly I lost the recipe, must find it again! Really, it's so easy to make cookies (far easier than bread), you should try. And you can add whatever special ingredients you like.. Experimenting is fun.

Hmm thanks..but mine didn't have chocolate, butter or eggs or vanilla extract. (Am vegan, don't like chocolate or vanilla extract) The only wet thing was oil I think. Just dry ingredients (maybe flour/oats/coconut/seeds/spices or whatever you want) + sugar + oil. It was 7 minutes cooking.

Bake it? I do this with bread, for exactly the same reasons.

It is absolutely feasible. I do it. My wife does it. There are alternatives for almost everything, you just have to look and spend a bit of time researching. Sometimes you have to order products on the Internet instead of getting them in your local supermarket.

Also, if a product just mentions "vegetable fat" it's more than likely palm.

Not really as Cadbury chocolate barely used palm oil, except I think in a couple of products.

Palm oil in everything is a Mondolez "innovation", along with lying about not closing the factory - a promise broken a week after takeover, and changing many recipes for the worse. I think it's the palm oil that gives American chocolate a distinctly greasy feel, and now some of that is being given to Cadbury too.

No problem, Aldi do perfect copies of how Cadbury Fruit and Nut and other bars used to be. So the copy is cheaper and better than the original now. They do good high cocoa chocolate too.

Unilever, meanwhile, has been praised by Greenpeace for being at the sustainable end of palm oil use. Though they don't do enough to preserve the planet they're at least giving it some board time. Seems more than adequate reason to criticise Mondolez and their bought up brands.

Aldi chocolate is pretty ok though they use hazelnuts where Cadbury Fruit and Nut had almonds.

That might be a further nail in the coffin though as I've heard in the past almonds themselves are not great (need heat and lots of water?) whereas hazelnuts fall from the trees around here (south coast UK) and are wasted.

Hmm. I thought the Aldi copy of Fruit and Nut used almonds too. I'm more a fan of the Whole Nut, even so I'm surprised to think I haven't noticed. I'll have to double check next time we're in now. :)

I think almonds do indeed need lots and lots of water.

Not too take it too deep, but a Chocolate factory in the early 1900 is fundamentally using products involving slavery and productions from remote island where local population social well being is not really a focus.

It comes with the times, and it was just normal from an English empire perspective. Just saying, it's a matter of perspective I guess.

It wasn't the English empire it was the British Empire.

It's quite important not to confuse that given the history of prominent Scottish trading firms such as Jardine Matheson.

I stand corrected

While I recognise it's an important local issue, globally I don't think Scotland is seen as materially different from Britain.

I think you've missed the point. Scotland is a sub-set of Britain so that would be actually fine but...

The grand parent didn't conflate Scotland and Britain. They conflated an English Empire with the British Empire.

England is a different sub-set of the British Isles.

Much of the commodities trade in South East Asia during the period referred to was controlled by powerful Scottish firms.

To talk about an "English Empire" like that is not a "local issue" it's just factually incorrect.

There was never an English Empire. However, it seems an ongoing trait of non British people (mainly Americans) to call our nice little set of islands and territories 'England'. Most notably is constant use of the title 'The Queen of England' - There hasn't been a Monarch of just England since before 1603. To counter, maybe us Brits should start pretending that New York in't part of the USA, or that there are only 9 federal regions (take your pick which one should no longer belong!).

Summary: Stop calling Britain 'England'.

Of course, it's not actually wrong to call her the queen of england any more than its not wrong to call her the queen of canada or australia - it's part of her title, just not her entire job. It would be just as incorrect to call her queen of the UK or queen of great britain.

Yeah I know its a bit nitpicky and less of an issue but there you go :-)

> Of course, it's not actually wrong to call her the queen of england

Yes, it is.

> any more than its not wrong to call her the queen of canada or australia - it's part of her title,

Queen of Canada is one of her titles.

Queen of Australia is one of her titles.

Queen of England is not (Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is.)

I'm not making much of a 'technical' argument for the rules as written but more one of convenience - I think what im getting at here is that while the act of union means that its a single kingdom, its relatively useless to suggest that she is not the queen of england because the title that gives her that power also gives her more power over other areas, when she also has more power than that title alone gives her - that line of thinking almost seems to lead to the idea that it would be wrong to suggest any specific title without listing every single one?

Something along the lines of the following: If somebody asks me "who is the queen of scotland" I would answer the question - I assume that the asker is not asking about a specific title that was removed in 1707 but instead they want to inquire about the current monarch that holds control over that territory

I mean of course my thought process here is a bit rambly but I think you get where im going.

I suppose that asking, "Who is the queen of Scotland?" is a bit like asking, "Who is the president of Texas?".

And all Americans are okay with being called Texans?

England and Scotland are subsets of Great Britain, both physically (on the island named Great Britain) and politically (both countries within the UK).

I think you might want to read up on this history of Cadbury and the Quakers in general. They were some of the most ethical companies around.

I got through the whole wikipedia article, and I don't see anything related to anything ethical they did related the products they are buying.

I think your point is they were very serious about treating well their company workers. I totally agree, it's just in the current perspective we would also care about supply chain and how the products are sourced.

> Cadbury was established in Birmingham, England in 1824, by John Cadbury who sold tea, coffee and drinking chocolate.

All their main businesses come from imported raw materials with heavy slavery involved. That's the times, it's no use faulting them for that retrospectively, I just don't agree calling them "ethical" now.

While it's likely there were problems in the supply chain. I don''t think you can fault Quaker ethics, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quakers_in_the_abolition_movem... However I guess it's hard to fight a war on all fronts simultaneously.

Not just the workers though. Read more about Quaker businesses, rather than jumping to conclusions. They were responsible for treating their customers and suppliers ethically and fairly as well. For example, the reason we have standardised pricing on all consumer goods is entirely down to 19th century Quaker ethics, which required not overcharging based upon how much they percevied one could afford, and treating everyone equally required to ask the same fair price for everyone, regardless of class, race or whatever, in line with their Christian philosophy and beliefs. This also extends to treating your suppliers on the same terms. While slavery was in existence for a very short period at the start of the company's founding, it's not something which the founders of the company would have countenanced, and I don't think it plays any particularly significant role in the company's history.

Their fair and ethical business practices set the standard for how good companies should operate. Cadbury would be horrified by the practices of Kraft/Mondelez. Both are capitalist enterprises, but there are good reasons Cadbury was held in high regard, and Kraft is not. The way Kraft have treated Cadbury and its workers is contemptible. I've not bought a single product from them since the takeover, and I'm by far from the only one.

This story is super relevant in the uk at the moment because one of our super markets (Iceland) made a Christmas advert about Palm oil and it was banned for being too political. Worth watching: https://youtu.be/oA10-oZi4Xc

It's been an incredibly astute comms strategy from Greenpeace. They made this film, then did a deal with Iceland (who were keen to reposition themselves as a supermarket with green credentials). Both parties admitted they knew it would be "bannned" by Clearcast. Greenpeace are now riding the inevitable public outrage by drip releasing their palm oil research to put huge public pressure on big brands. It's very impressive.

And we might reduce palm oil consumption and everyone might eat less sweets. Win-win!

Worth a caveat: it wasn't banned because it was political per se, but because it wasn't original content, re-purposed from a Greenpeace animation, an organisation who could be deemed a political advertiser.

Had the same film been 100% produced by Iceland, it wouldn't have been banned.

It was banned exactly because it was political:

“The advert wasn’t approved by Clearcast as it was seen to be in support of a political issue,” a spokesperson for Iceland says.

-- source: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/iceland-advert-banned-christ...

The organisation who banned it has explicitly said:

'it was deemed to be "an advertisement inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature".'

'for Iceland to overcome the ruling, "Greenpeace needs to demonstrate it is not a political advertiser."'

--source: https://www.thedrum.com/news/2018/11/12/clearcast-clarifies-...

Sorry if my point was too specific but I think it's a worthwhile one to press:

The ad wasn't banned because it itself was political, had exactly the same creative been made by Iceland it wouldn't have been banned. It was banned because it was a re-purposed piece of content originally created by and used in partnership with a group deemed to be a politically-focused organisation.

(and actually, it's worth pointing out that Clearcast can't "ban" ads by themselves, that's the ASA in most cases - they just really advise as to whether they abide by the rules)

Given Greenpeace's status as an activist organisation, I can't bring myself to believe Iceland didn't expect this decision. Whether or not it was intentional, it's certainly achieved its purpose as an advert...

So the distinction you're making is that the ad was not banned because it's political, it was banned because the creator of the ad was political.

Fair comment.

Exactly - and I feel it's an important distinction to make in this context and the wider environment of manufactured outrage.

Clearcast say the same: "The concerns of Clearcast and the broadcasters do not extend to the content or message of the ad, i.e. Clearcast does not consider the ad itself to be political."

The advert itself carries an important, but easy to gloss over, message.

They're exceptionally fortunate to now have a "Plan B" media maelstrom to help them cut through...

If the ad isn't political, who gives a darn who said it?

Ofcom and the ASA who regulate political broadcasting in the UK.

You lost me at "manufactured outrage".

I'm unsure why "manufactured outrage" is an issue here?

That's exactly what this is. It's obviously being use for a positive purpose here to advertise the use of palm oil, but they could very easily clarify the lack of clearance and address it, instead using that lack of clearance to their own ends.

Again, I'm not judging their morality in using this tactic to drive awareness of palm oil - but this is pretty much the dictionary definition of manufactured outrage, pushing the notion their story is being silenced, whilst knowingly ignoring the issue is actually about a very specific technicality.

Technically everything is "political". Politics is life in a system 100% governed by a political system.

Just noticed that the BBC are reporting that 670 thousand people have signed a petition to request this add is shown on TV:


Why was this banned? I fail to see anything remotely controversial in that video. We are really much deeper in the corporatist dystopia than I thought if this gets banned.

God forbid politics actually be discussed!

I don’t mean to evangelise too hard, but this is yet another reason to keep kratom legal in the US. Last I knew, over 30% of the world’s kratom is consumed by the US, and most of that is from Indonesia, specifically Borneo. Kratom is an understory crop that can be cultivated without clear-cutting as is done for palm oil; and if kratom growers can’t afford to stay in business because the US demand dries up, you can bet they’ll turn to palm oil and rubber, leading to more deforestation and more habitat loss for orangutans. This is in addition to what I believe is clear potential for kratom to be instrumental in fighting the epidemic of opioid painkiller and heroin abuse.

In case anybody is wondering, Cadbury started using palm oil before being acquired by Mon delez.


When I buy chocolate or any cocoa products, I always look for the UTZ certified logo or some linkage to another fair trade organisation. Cadbury didn't have any of this so I buy other brands for ethical reasons. The chocolate is usually better anyway.

The UTZ certification process is an example of a consumer awareness tactic that worked: in the Netherlands the majority of products with chocolate in it carries that logo. It now makes more sense for the manufacturer to just get certified chocolate.

But that worked because chocolate is very recognizable as an ingredient. Palm oil isn't, and it's in everything. Perhaps a similar certification process might help, but when you buy something that doesn't carry the logo you'll still have to check the ingredients list because often you have no idea if palm oil was used or not.

Cadbury chocolate always was pretty poor quality but it seems to have gone even further downhill since they became part of Kraft / Mondelez.

It's gone from being OK-but-nothing-special to a brown-wax-cake-topping like Hershey's. Inedible and worthless. I've gone to more premium dark chocolate from a local company (Mackies) or Lindt. Costs more but it's worth it for actually tasting like chocolate and being made with proper ingredients.

> I buy other brands for ethical reasons. The chocolate is usually better anyway

I'd find it honestly difficult to buy lower-quality chocolate than Cadbury's. No wonder you can't find it in most of Western Europe - only Brits tolerate it, mostly because they had little else "back then" (pre-EU accession).

You've never tried Hershey's then.

Real chocolate should have 0% Palm oil, that's part of the problem

Orangs are just amazing creatures.

I remember 'playing' with a juvenile and a large male once, during a slow day at the zoo. They were behind a big glass wall, there was a flat-screen built into the center of the glass along the floor, kinda like an 'n' in shape. The male was mostly uninterested, but the juvenile was just so curious about everything. The little guy was trying to make a bed/nest on some of the gym equipment. Eventually, he saw me looking up at him and came over to the glass, where I was standing. I decided to play a bit of a game of hide and seek. I'd duck behind the flat-screen, and wiggle my fingers up above it, and then myself. The little dude seemed to really like it, swinging about and having a good time with hide-n-peek. The huge, jowly male took an interest too, maybe due to the activity of the juvenile. The giant male and I would 'hide' a bit, he behind the various objects in the cage, I in the viewing room with it's benches and educational boards. The juvenile would point us out/tag us and then swing off on some ropes and such. If the juvenile was a human toddler, I swear he'd be squealing in delight. It was just an amazing 20/25 minutes until other people walked in.

Those beasts are just stunningly intelligent for animals.

I have read that Ferrero (makers of Ferrero Roche chocolates among others) are harvesting palm oil in a sustainable manner - however even that gives me pause, because as far as I know, palm oil plantations are not really sustainable per se?

The palm trees themselves are fast growing but tend to deplete the ground soil they are on of all available nutrients very quickly, meaning that really nothing else can be planted in their place for many, many years and can be expected to grow.

It is really a 'scorched earth' type plantation in more ways than one. I really don't believe there can be a sound 'sustainable' model of farming palm oil like most other plant resources.

Perhaps there could be, but not with the ruthless efficiency and disregard to environmental damage that farming in export-based agrarian economies tends to happen. We mop it up, because we don't care, and the damage done is far, far away.

Surely there must be a kind of crop rotation that can make it work? even if its one year on 3 years off, the opposite of really old crop rotations.

And Nutella. Apparently palm oil is an irreplaceable component of its recipe.

I believe Nutella is manufactured by Ferrero as well. I stopped eating it, though I love it, because of the initial backlash about palm oil many years ago.

Then, when they said they were going forward with 'sustainable' palm oil production, I started buying it again, but having second thoughts again because of the points raised in my original post above.

In Australia Cadbury decided to remove palm oil from their plain dairy milk blocks in reaction to outrage caused by talk-back radio. Sadly the outrage wasn't about environmental devestation, but palm oil related health concerns.

like most too-big-to-fail corporations, their products are shit and they're fucking the planet as they make them

if you want chocolate, there are many superb fair-trade brands which use only (> 70%) chocolate and sugar

I was in Tawau a few years back and bused to Semporna. Generally when traveling within a new country I'm fascinated by the surrounding sights, and keep my eyes locked out the window. I got bored on this drive because it was oil palms as far as the eye could see. It was like corn fields in Nebraska.

Same story in massive swaths of West Africa.

Is there an easy way of knowing which products I should boycott?

I know this is way to open ended to be actionable (based on what ethical standards, what kinds of products, etc) but could you share how you go about boycotting companies you consider not in compliance with your morals?

Individual action is unlikely to be effective in this case. For every person that cares enough and is aware enough to boycott these products, there are a thousand other people who either don't know, don't care, or can't afford to take the time and effort to change their behavior over something like this.

If you want to make an impact, look toward political solutions; raise awareness among your friends and family, write to your representatives, send a letter to your local newspaper, etc. etc. The only reason companies are overexploiting these resources is because it's profitable; a small tax or tariff could tip the scales in a much bigger way than your own individual consumer habits ever will.

But if it's easier for 1 person to boycott, doesn't that make it easier for many people to do it too?

I agree with what you're saying: spreading the word and trying to have an impact on the system as a whole will help solve the problem.

What if I make it easier for myself to boycott and then communicate to others it would be easy for them too? Feel like this goes along the lines of solutions where you first brute-force-first/bottom-up/do-things-that-don't-scale and then spread the working solution.

Palm oil is a cheap substitute for trans fats in most processed food, so should we return to animal fats?

I think so, and not just for the orangutans.

I have also seen palm oil sold as a health food. It is actually very tasty...

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