Kentucky Fried Planet? Greenpeace shames firms over forest destruction

Orangutans at Jakarta Zoo

Junk food company KFC and other firms including Walmart, French supermarket chain Carrefour and even National Geographic are among the companies that have been named and shamed in a new Greenpeace report (pdf) for buying paper products and/or palm oil from Indonesian giant Sinar Mas and its affiliates.

Sinar Mas and its subsidiary Asia Pulp and Paper are infamous for allegedly breaking every sustainability rule in the book in order to feed their mills with cheap timber. Companies that buy from them are therefore complicit, Greenpeace says, in crimes of illegal logging which are threatening endangered species like tigers and orangutans and contributing to carbon emissions through deforestation, one of the main sources of man-made global warming.

It’s sad to think that we may be destroying the planet partly in order to wrap our fries and chicken burgers in cheap paper. Would you be willing to pay an extra, I dunno, 50 cents for every KFC meal if it came in a bag made from sustainable paper rather than from a Sumatran tiger’s last piece of habitat?

Companies fingered for buying or selling paper products connected to APP include:

  • French supermarket chain Carrefour (e.g. in Indonesia, China)
  • US supermarket chain Walmart (in China)
  • French supermarket chain Auchan (in China)
  • British supermarket chain Tesco (in China)
  • British retail group WH Smith (in the UK)
  • US information technology multinational Hewlett Packard (in Brazil)
  • US fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (in China)
  • Dutch Office supplies company Corporate Express
  • Australian global paper merchant PaperlinX (e.g. in Australia and the UK)

Magazines that allegedly buy from APP China’s Gold East Paper Mill (the single largest export destination of APP’s Indah Kiat pulp mill on Sumatra) include:

  • Chinese National Geographic
  • CNN Traveller
  • COSMO (published by National Geographic)
  • Cosmo Girl (published by Cosmopolitan)
  • ELLE
  • Esquire
  • Marie Claire

It’s not just paper that Sinar Mas is allegedly shredding the forests to produce. The other product is palm oil, used in everything from soap to chocolate to biofuels. Vast, monoculture plantations are springing up all over Indonesia where once there was natural forest.

Kraft, Nestle and Unilever have promised to stop buying palm oil from Sinar Mas. These companies, however, have not:

  • Campbell Soup Company (US)
  • Burger King (US)
  • Dunkin Donuts (US)
  • Pizza Hut (US)
  • Shiseido (Japan)
  • Carrefour (France)
  • Palm oil trader Cargill (US)
  • Palm oil trader Wilmar (Singapore)

On the bright side, Greenpeace adds that companies including Kimberly Clark, Kraft, Nestle and Unilever are “in the process of implementing global sustainability policies for pulp and paper (which will) exclude paper products from APP unless it makes substantial improvements to the
sustainability of it’s fibre supplies”. Credit to them.

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One response to “Kentucky Fried Planet? Greenpeace shames firms over forest destruction

  1. scandalousmuffin

    I heard about KFC, but not about the rest of them. Thanks for the list!

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