This resulted in a rage on Twitter and a petition on Change.org was created to stop using tallow in the banknotes. It has amassed over 136,000 signatures and only a few thousand more are needed to reach their goal of 150,000 supporters.
Despite controversial thoughts from animal rights groups, religious organizations and British citizens, the Bank of England decided that change was not necessary. However, they later considered alternatives for their new £20 banknotes to be printed in 2020, considering palm oil or coconut oil as possibilities.
“Since December 2016, the Bank has been working with De La Rue and Innovia Security, the potential suppliers of polymer substrate, to assess alternative options, such as palm oil or coconut oil,” the Bank of England stated.
In addition to their update, the Bank of England also published an Efeca report regarding the “Environmental and social impacts of plant based alternatives to tallow.” They outlined and detailed many impacts that the Bank of England said could be “potentially mitigated by the Bank’s suppliers acquiring additives that meet as associated certification standard for environmentally sustainable production.”
Palm oil production has had devastating effects on the environment and communities around the world. Environmental groups are working to end the unsustainable practices to reduce the effects of palm oil production on our green planet.
The Rainforest Foundation UK, who have palm oil projects running in Africa, have been working on reducing these horrible effects. According to a spokeswoman, the organization is hoping to be consulted by the Bank of England during their decision-making.
“Using palm oil is not an all-round bad thing, it really depends on how much is being used, how they are sourcing it and what criteria they are using to establish whether it is sustainable or not. We would hope they are going to be transparent about it and realistic about the impact of using it.”
The Bank of England will keep the £5 banknotes and the soon-to-be-released £10 in circulation; however, they are considering possibly replacing tallow with plant-based alternatives in the future.
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