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Behavior Change
Greenpeace Weighs In on Yum!'s Commitment to Rainforest-Free Paper Packaging

Last week, Yum! Brands – parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – announced the release of its online Corporate Social Responsibility Report, “Serving the World.”

Last week, Yum! Brands – parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – announced the release of its online Corporate Social Responsibility Report, “Serving the World.”

In the report, Yum! expresses interest in increasing the sustainability of its supply chain, most notably through a commitment to ensure none of its paper packaging comes from “unwanted fiber sources,” which include wood:

  • harvested in a manner that violates human rights or local or international laws
  • from high conservation-value forests, unless those forests are credibly certified
  • harvested from forests that have been converted to plantations or non-forest use
  • where the source forest or forests are unknown

Last spring, Greenpeace launched a campaign against KFC & Yum! for this very reason, after it was discovered that wood fiber from rainforest trees was ending up in the company’s chicken buckets. While it established no timeframe for the shift to rainforest-free paper in its packaging, Yum! has committed to developing “a more detailed procurement policy with public targets to achieve these goals” by 2014.

In an email response to the announcement, Greenpeace credited the success of its campaign with the switch. The NGO says it will take a “wait and see” approach to give Yum! Brands time to assess its highly complex global supply chain, draft specific implementation targets and make needed changes. In the meantime, the watchdog will vigilantly monitor Yum!’s progress toward meeting its new sustainable paper commitments.

Greenpeace also says it remains concerned about Yum! Brands’ potential role in deforestation in Indonesia, through its sourcing of palm oil. While Yum! says it has phased out palm oil from 70% of its 39,000 restaurants, it is not clear what, if any, environmental standards it has in place for the palm oil it is buying.

“Greenpeace welcomes Yum! Brands’ new commitment to removing deforestation from its paper and packaging supply chain as an important step towards protecting the habitat of endangered species like the Sumatran tiger,” says Dr. Amy Moas, Greenpeace Senior Forest Campaigner. “Now Yum! has a lot of work to do. Greenpeace will carefully monitor its progress and encourage the company to ensure other high-risk commodities in its supply chain — especially palm oil — also become free from rainforest destruction,” said Moas.

Yum! Brands is the world's largest restaurant company, with over 39,000 restaurants in more than 125 countries and territories.

Another recent target of Greenpeace’s campaigning efforts, Asia Pulp & Paper, committed earlier this year to ending the clearing of natural forest across its entire supply chain in Indonesia, after losing contracts with nearly 100 international corporate customers. Last week, the company denied allegations by the WWF that it had already violated its new zero-deforestation policy.

In response to the controversy, Greenpeace came to the company’s defense, saying: "Last week WWF released evidence that appeared to show APP suppliers were breaking the moratorium on forest clearance. An urgent investigation from APP’s partner, The Forest Trust, has concluded that APP suppliers have not been involved in clearing forest and that the land has been allocated to different industries operating in the same areas. This case again shows why long-term solutions to deforestation in Indonesia have to involve support from government and other stakeholders, including NGOs and private industries, for the urgent reform of land use regulations."