Concerned over the use of wood harvested from Indonesia’s threatened rainforest in its chicken buckets, activists with Greenpeace International scaled the KFC HQ in Louisville, Kentucky last week and hung up a giant banner that read, “KFC Stop Trashing My Home,” to encourage the restaurant chain to find a more sustainable option.
Greenpeace alleges that the discovery was made when independent tests run on samples of the boxes collected from KFC locations in China, Indonesia and the U.K. tested positive for fibers from tropical hardwood trees, with more than half of the material in some of the KFC buckets testing positive for rainforest wood.
Despite the test results and records that implicate one of KFC’s main paper supplier’s (Asia Pulp and Paper) history of sourcing from rainforests, a spokesperson for the restaurant chain said that at least 60 percent of the paper products purchased by the company originates from sustainable forests, with a target goal of making that 100 percent. KFC dismissed Greenpeace’s action as merely a publicity stunt not based in fact.
Experts estimate that since 1996, the country has lost as much as 5 million acres of rainforest to logging. Palm oil production has also been one of the contributing factors to the rapid decline of Indonesia’s rainforest ecosystem, home to endangered animals including orangutans and the severely threatened Sumatran tiger (experts estimate fewer than 400 remain in the wild). With the rising demand for palm oil leading to leveling large swaths of the forest for the development of palm plantations, environmentalists say the damage from both palm and logging could permanently devastate the forest much faster than previously estimated.
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