KFC recently uploaded a new statement to their website called Sustainable Sourcing and Waste Recovery. Is this the start of KFC’s response to the campaign that has seen hundreds of thousands of people tell them to stop driving the destruction of rainforests?
Getting any kind of response from KFC has been a hard slog. For two years, we've attempted to engage the company. First, through letters, then by publishing an investigation into their supply chain, and finally with the launch of a public campaign. So far nobody from KFC’s HQ has responded with details about how the company will address the issues we have raised.
Some aspects of this latest statement demonstrates that KFC is at least listening. But, until it provides more detail to its tens of millions of customers and its shareholders, about whether it will commit to a global deforestation policy, it is difficult to know whether KFC’s words are just salad dressing or the real nuggets the forests and tigers need. For instance, will KFC rule out the use of paper and packaging produced by companies like Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) that continue to destroy rainforests and tiger habitat?
Now more than ever it is crucial that we keep the pressure on KFC’s bosses – like CEO David Novak.
Here are three examples of Novak's poor track record on environmental issues.
At the Yum! 2012 AGM, in front of his board members and shareholders, Novak promised a meeting to another NGO campaigning on this same issue. A few days before this meeting was to take place Yum! informed the NGO that it could not see the value in a meeting.
2. Turning a blind eye on palm oil
Novak is also reticent to take action on other commodities linked to deforestation, such as palm oil. This is despite the fact that at the 2011 AGM more than a third of shareholders voted in favour of Yum adopting sustainable palm oil commitments that would put Yum! on a par with other food companies like McDonald’s.
3. Leadership guru?
Novak is a self-styled leadership guru often found on the road promoting his book Taking People With You. Yet how can Novak claim to be a 21st Century leader when he is closing the door on critics and failing to deal with important sustainability issues?
KFC has started to show some interest. Now’s the time to ask KFC's board of directors to cut rainforest destruction out of KFC products for good.