5 Powerful Videos About Palm Oil and Deforestation

Featuring vids with incredible cinematography, celebrity cameos, orangutans with sign language abilities and catchy tunes, here is a compilation of some of the most powerful videos with some very poignant messages about palm oil consumption and deforestation.


In 2008, Greenpeace released this video as a play on Dove’s Onslaught campaign targeting the pressures of ‘ideal beauty’. The video was created to call out Dove’s parent company Unilever for their investment in palm oil suppliers that carry out mass deforestation practices. You must watch Dove’s original video here to gain a full appreciation of all the details that Greenpeace has replicated in their video. In both videos, a young girl is the focus at the beginning and end of the ad, there’s a similar style of quick cut film sequences in the middle and the song has been adjusted from “here they come” to “there they go”. The song was made specifically for the Greenpeace video and you’ll have to pay close attention to how creatively the lyrics have been matched.

This video in my opinion takes the cake for most powerful video about palm oil. It has been around for a while, yet is still incredibly relevant. The video was so powerful that Unilever agreed to support Greenpeace for an immediate moratorium on deforestation. However, as Unilever is still one of the largest buyers of palm oil (purchasing 0.5 million tonnes of crude palm and palm kernel oil and 1 million tonnes of derivatives each year), we hope that Unilever’s commitment to source “100% of agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020” is a commitment they will uphold.


Conservation International really got some big names on board for this campaign titled ‘Nature is Speaking’. The set of campaigns feature the voices of Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Penelope Cruz, Harrison Ford, Ian Somerhalder, Lupita Nyong’o, Robert Redford and Edward Norton, who each personify an element of nature such as water, the reef, soil and flowers. This video features Julia Roberts as the voice of Mother Nature and believe me, this is a mother you don’t want to mess with. Incredible cinematography and haunting music make this an incredibly powerful video. “I have fed species greater than you and I have starved species greater than you” is one of the many lines that make an impact. It really does make you realise how powerless we are to the omnipotence of nature, culminating with the final message: Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature.


Again, here is another must watch video from Conservation International’s ‘Nature is Speaking’ campaign. This one features the voice of Kevin Spacey as the (slightly sassy) rainforest. The video again features dramatic cinematography – we glide over tree tops and become a spectator to a tree being felled. Thanks Kev, you were born to play the rainforest. Plus points for sass – *Kevin Spacey voice* “Humans, they’re so smart, so smart. Such big brains and opposable thumbs.”


When I first watched this video I was incredibly moved and emotional. Okay so the video lacks a bit in authenticity – please just use your imagination and don’t look too much into the fact that there’s probably someone manipulating the orangutan’s arms somehow (Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and the use of fake kangaroo paws springs to mind). That thought aside, this video has a great concept – an orangutan and young girl communicating through sign language about the impacts her food has on orangutan habitat. The Rainforest Action Network produced the video to draw attention to international snack food companies who put conflict palm oil in our everyday food products. The video urges consumers to take action with the message ‘the power is in your palm’.


Okay so just a warning, this video doesn’t hold back on the gore. Greenpeace UK aimed this campaign at Nestle by parodying the Kit Kat ‘have a break’ campaign. The video’s main message is that when you take a bite of a Kit Kat you are supporting Nestle’s sourcing of palm oil from companies that are destroying rainforests, and ultimately those that depend on it for their survival. It literally depicts that eating a Kit Kat finger is like eating an Orangutan finger – but I don’t want to spoil the sickening crunching noises and blood splatter for you. Plus points to the actor who makes office life look positively tedious.

So there we have it, 5 powerful videos about palm oil, consumption and deforestation that you can watch in your procrastination and share with all your friends. If you’ve got a keen interest in environmental films, I also suggest you take a look at the films Baraka and Samsara or check out the Greenpeace documentary ‘How to Change the World’.

If you have any other notable videos worth sharing, please comment them below!

The Australian Government needs to turn over a new leaf and introduce the mandatory ingredient labelling of palm oil so that we as consumers can make informed choices in our every day purchase decisions. Sign the petition here:http://bit.ly/1VryJAs to help amplify the message!

By Chelsea W | A New Leaf Project


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