Dame Emma Thompson leads celebs to give global brands 500-day warning: “Stop forest destruction for palm oil and save orangutans”

Publication date: 13th August 2018

Rang tan campaign banner

Dame Emma Thompson, backed by a host of other famous names, has taken aim at big brands including Unilever, Nestle and Mondelez today, as Greenpeace releases a powerful new 90-second animation that highlights how orangutans are being pushed to the brink of extinction because of deforestation for palm oil.

Launched globally today, just ahead of International Orangutan Day (on August 19), the film, voiced by Emma Thompson, will also be shown across UK cinemas with thousands of screenings throughout August and September. It has been made by creative agency Mother (directed by award-winning Salon Alpin) and produced by Oscar-winning Passion Animation Studios.

Celebrities taking to social media to share it include Stephen Fry, Bryan Adams, Jodie Kidd, Alesha Dixon, Andy Serkis, Geri Horner (née Halliwell), Gregg Wallace and Sharon Osbourne.

The film tells the story of baby Rang-tan as she causes mischief in a little girl’s bedroom. Just as the girl is about to banish her, she asks Rang-tan what brought her there. Rang-tan’s memories are harrowing. They show her forest home destroyed, trees burning, huge machines hacking others to the ground and her mother lying injured.

Palm oil is used in almost half the products we buy in UK supermarkets and demand is increasing at an alarming rate. Ending their part in deforestation for palm oil was a promise that Unilever, Nestle and Mondelez, along with many other brands made a decade ago, with 2020 their deadline. On International Orangutan Day they will have just 500 days to go and they are way off target [1]. The film marks the start of Greenpeace’s campaign to ramp up pressure on brands to keep their promise and end destruction of the rainforests.

Dame Emma Thompson, campaign ambassador, says:

“When Greenpeace asked me to narrate Rang-tan, I didn’t hesitate. For too long big brands have been getting away with murder. And for too long our response to orangutans has been ‘ohhh, poor thing’ as we’re shown photographs of them orphaned and at death’s door. But change is possible – we can make it so.

“By making a noise, demanding answers and forcing change, we can stop feeling sorry. Instead, we can feel exhilarated as we witness these iconic beasts living truly wild once more. If we accomplish that, believe me, we will all be much better off.”

Orangutans spend 95% of their lives in the trees, but right now, Indonesia’s forests – the lungs of the planet – are disappearing at the rate of one football pitch every 25 seconds. Bornean orangutan numbers more than halved between 1999 and 2015 with the loss of approximately 150,000 individuals – that’s more than 25 a day. If we don’t act now to stop brands buying dirty palm oil, more habitats will be ruined, indigenous people will lose their homes and orangutans could be lost forever.

John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, says:

“A decade ago we persuaded brands including Nestlé, Unilever and Mondelez to sign global commitments to drop dirty palm oil from their products by 2020 – but with just 500 days to go, their progress is pitiful. Orangutans have been pushed to the very brink of extinction, Indigenous peoples’ lives are threatened and climate change is accelerating.

“These forests are the lungs of the planet – it’s no exaggeration to say that keeping them intact is vital for all life on earth and we hope Rang-tan will help bring this urgent message to millions more people. If we all act together, we can force brands to keep their promises and end deforestation for good.”

Excerpt from the film script:

“There’s a human in my forest and I don’t know what to do
He destroyed all of our trees for your food and your shampoo

“There’s a human in my forest and I don’t know what to do
He took away my mother and I’m scared he’ll take me too.

“There are humans in my forest and I don’t know what to do
They’re burning it for palm oil… so I thought I’d stay with you.”

Watch the film:
www.greenpeace.org.uk/rangtanfilm
#SaveRangtan #DropDirtyPalmOil

Download film stills:
https://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MZIFJWTGX8Y

Download photographs of orangutans and forest destruction:
https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJX5MY7U

Media enquiries: alison.kirkman@greenpeace.org | 020 7865 8255 | 07896 893154.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Rang-tan will be available to watch online as well as running before selected screenings in UK cinemas.

[1] Greenpeace International report, Rogue Trader: https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/reports/worlds-largest-palm-oil-trader-linked-rainforest-destruction-twice-size-paris/