Greenpeace activists recently scaled the headquarters of the KFC headquarters building in Louisville, Kentucky to hang a giant banner with a Sumatran tiger saying: “KFC Stop Trashing My Home.” A second banner was deployed on the lake the KFC building, dubbed “the White House” due to its resemblance to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, overlooks, bearing a similar message.
“We're here today to expose KFC's secret recipe. KFC customers worldwide will be horrified to learn that the fast food giant is using rainforests to make its packaging,” said Greenpeace Forest Campaign Director, Rolf Skar, about the protest action, which has gone global including a protest stunt in China and London this week. “The decisions being made here at KFC HQ are fuelling the destruction of some of the world’s last remaining rainforests, driving climate change and pushing the Sumatran tiger closer to extinction.”
It's all part of a worldwide campaign against KFC and parent company YUM! Brands Inc.’s sourcing partner — Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) — which has been accused of destroying Indonesia’s rainforests and using illegal timber at its main pulp mill in Sumatra.
Greenpeace investigators used independent forensic testing and supply chain research to reveal that some of KFC’s packaging contains more than 50% rainforest fiber. (The full report, “How KFC is Junking the Jungle” is available here.) Greenpeace also released a video parody with Colonel Sanders’ reaction to disclosure about his famous secret recipe.
“With only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild today, time is running out for these fast food giants to stop turning rainforests into trash,” said Skar. “Other companies, including KFC’s main competitor, McDonald’s have started to take some action to reduce their impact on rainforests.” Major global brands including Mattel (also targeted by Greenpeace over deforestation and packaging), Xerox, Staples, Nestlé and Kroger have severed business relations with APP.
KFC responded to Bloomberg by pointing to their sustainably produced packaging, with a spokesman commenting that 60 percent of the paper purchased by the company comes from sustainable forests, with suppliers aiming for 100 percen, and dismissed the Greenpeace protest as a “publicity stunt.”
Greenpeace responded with a follow-up blog post today, "KFC executives are using the word “sustainable” in a very creative way. Their mysterious 60%-80% figures seems to include controversial clearcut logging that has been criticized for years by conservationists. If this is what the Colonel calls 'sustainable' he has a bad case of denial."
The real Colonel Sanders, born in Henryville, Indiana, began his culinary pursuits at the age of six, when the death of his father required he cook for his family. It’s a safe bet the company he founded in 1930 was not intended to be trashing rainforests half a world away some 75 years later. Still, today may not have been the best day to tweet the following message to its 88,000 followers on Twitter: