A call has gone out to care homes across North Wales to support a new campaign against single-use plastic and the wholesale destruction of rainforests to make unsustainable palm oil.
Care Forum Wales is urging care home owners and other social care providers to do their bit to save the planet.
The issue of palm oil hit the headlines recently after Clearcast, the body which assesses adverts against the UK code Broadcast Adverting, banned the Christmas TV advert by Deeside-based Iceland Frozen Food using a Greenpeace animation telling the story of rainforest destruction and the impact on the orangutan.
According to Clearcast, the advert was deemed too political because it highlighted the impact of palm oil on the environment.
The new Care Forum Wales strategy was agreed at a meeting of the Five Nations Group in Cardiff hosted by Care Forum Wales which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
The group, which is also made up of social care representatives from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire.
They particularly want to reduce the use of single use plastic and palm oil and are asking members to do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint.
Details of the campaign were included in the Cardiff Communique drafted at the meeting.
Among others it was sent Ken Skates AM, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Transport, who has already endorsed the idea.
Mr Skates said: “I’d like to applaud the sector for the work that it is doing to drive out the unacceptable overuse of plastics as well as considering how they’ll be able to drive out the use of palm oil that is unsustainably sourced.”
Mario Kreft MBE, the chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “”Plastic pollution is a problem we can no longer ignore. It is poisoning and injuring marine life and disrupting human hormones. It is littering our beaches and landscapes as well as clogging our waste streams and landfills .In short, it is now threatening the survival of our planet.
“The Five Nations Group is calling on social care providers to join the battle to combat the increasing menace posed by single use-plastic.
“The social care sector exists to serve the public good. It is an integral part of the rich and vibrant tapestry of our communities. It represents all that is decent about humanity..
“As the leaders of this vital sector we have the opportunity to demonstrate in a very practical sense that we also care about our planet.
“Together we provide social care for more than one million people. In order to do so, we procure huge amounts of products and resources. If we change the ways in which we do this we can impact the environment as positively as we do the lives of the people we care for.
“Many of these things are not difficult to do. Small changes can have a big impact. It’s a tiny investment of time and effort when you consider what is at stake.
“We can also reduce the amount of plastic and particularly single use plastic that we use and step up our recycling efforts. We can significantly cut our use of fossil fuel by being more energy efficient.
“A recent report from the global scientific authority on climate change revealed we only have a dozen years to stop disastrous levels of global warming.
“The television advert featuring a friendly orangutan that highlighted the problems caused by the destruction of the rainforests but we do not want to go from the frying pan into the fire.
“So, we’re not advocating that people do not avoid using palm oil entirely, as this would only increase demand for other oils which can be even more damaging impact to the environment. Instead we are campaigning to encourage the social care sector to come together to increase demand for sustainable palm oil.
“We have a simple choice. We can either ignore the looming dangers, pretend they’re not there, and bury our collective heads deep into the sand. Or we can take action, and do our bit to help literally save the planet.
“If we do not act, soon it will be too late, and the damage will be done. We can make a difference, and we must.”
Caption: Mario Kreft MBE, chair of Care Forum Wales, with Subis the orangutan at Chester Zoo.