Thanks to pressure from thousands of people around the globe, Yum! Brands, the largest restaurant company in the world and parent company of KFC, has released a new set of commitments which could make the paper and packaging it uses much more rainforest-friendly.
Last year we showed that wood fiber from rainforest trees was ending up in KFC’s famous chicken buckets and other paper packaging. Activists around the world spoke up, telling KFC and Yum executives that trashing tiger forests was not acceptable. It seems all those hours in tiger and orangutan costumes, doing reverse graffiti and yes, even dunking the Colonel in BBQ sauce, have made the company pay attention.
Yesterday, they officially released new policies that – if they stick – would prevent KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, and other Yum companies, from trashing rainforests for paper packaging. That means good news for tigers, and bad news for any paper companies, like Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), that are still destroying rainforests.
So, good progress from Yum! Brands on paper, but what about palm oil? For years we've been calling out Yum for buying palm oil linked to rainforest destruction. The company says it is phasing out palm oil “wherever feasible” in its 39,000 restaurants for health reasons. But it’s not clear what, if any, environmental standards it has for the palm oil it is buying in the meantime.
Turning a blind eye to the problems with palm oil — from pushing orangutans to extinction in Indonesia, to trashing rainforests and people’s rights in Africa – is not an option, especially when solutions to those problems are beginning to grow.
It’s not just Yum that still has work to do. Other fast food restaurants, like Dominos, Wendy’s and Dairy Queen, don’t seem to have any safeguards to ensure rainforest destruction isn’t on their menus. With your help, we’ll push them to change that.
In the meantime, a big thank you to all the tiger fans, activists and KFC customers who helped convince the largest restaurant company in the world to start becoming part of the solution to deforestation. Stay tuned for news on how you can continue to help us #savetigers together.
Amy Moas is senior forest campaigner for Greenpeace in the USA