Veggie; Vegetarian; Vegan; Palm Oil; Blog Post

Much to the delight of all vegetarians & vegans alike, the Bank of England have initiated a public consultation on how their future plastic bank notes should be made after the huge public outcry that followed the launch of the new £5 note late last year.

You probably wont need or in fact want reminding of the dreadful inclusion of tallow – animal fat – within the making of the £5 note that is now in full circulation here in the UK and the soon to be launched plastic £10 note – scheduled for launch in September 2017 -, such was the uproar and subsequent coverage by the media, the bank knew that they had to act, especially with the planned launch of a new plastic £20  which will be introduced in 2020, so a public consultation was called and the bank have been busy looking into other animal-free alternatives to use in the note.

polymer notes

The new polymer £5 and soon to be launched £10 note that contains tallow

Palm Oil is seemingly the clear favourite in replacing tallow and the bank are currently conducting extensive tests to ensure that it can meet all technical & operational requirements with tests expected to conclude this summer.

palm oil deforestation

The effects of deforestation can be devastating


Palm oil is certainly an interesting suggestion and one that will no doubt polarise opinion from the start, especially in vegetarian & vegan circles – Veggie Eye have been very vocal in regards to palm oil on many occasions on these pages – whilst it is animal free which is a huge tick it does have quite a murky background in terms of some terrible environmental issues such as deforestation which in turn has led to appalling animal rights issues and abuses of human rights for the workers on the plantations, we can only hope that should the Bank of England proceed with using it as its preferred choice to tallow, that it really does its homework from the get-go and only uses palm oil that is certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil – RPSO – otherwise it may well have another ethical & political earthquake on it’s hands.

Palm oil RPSO

Ok, so what does RPSO status ensure in relation to palm oil? The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was established in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. RSPO is inspired by the idea of the “roundtable” in which all members have equal rights, standards and sustainability are the key words here, but in using a certified source then the BOE – Bank of England – can really lay down the template to the world in terms of ethics.

PALM OIL rpso 2

If Palm Oil is to be the chosen tallow replacer, we plead with the Bank of England to ensure it is RPSO approved.

Coconut Oil has also been mooted as a suggestion, this would indeed be a very interesting scenario, however, although we are living in a world where coconut is cropping up in many FMCG product varieties, the cost of production for a job of this scale may prove to expensive, especially when you would require a greater landmass and crops to produce the same amount of palm oil – the banks estimates that one years production would equate to six hectares of palm oil plantation.

coconut oil

Coconut Oil has also been mooted as a tallow replacer but costs are much higher

The Bank expects to print five billion polymer £20 notes over a ten year period from 2020.

The bank will continue with the consultation until May 12th with a decision to follow.

What do you think? as always we welcome your comments below….

Veggie Eye