KFC chickens out on unsustainable packaging

KFC chickens out on unsustainable packaging

KFC's iconic red bucket is going green, after the company has ditched packaging suppliers accused of using wood harvested from protected forests.

The U.K. arm of the company this week updated its policy statement on packaging sourcing after coming under fire from campaign group Greenpeace in May for its links to companies accused of logging Indonesian rainforests.

A year-long Greenpeace investigation found packaging used in some of KFC's U.K. stores contained significant levels of mixed tropical hardwood, which it said is a clear indicator of rainforest timber.

The campaign group tracked a number of these products back to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of the largest pulp and paper manufacturers in the world and a company that Greenpeace has repeatedly accused of using wood from the Indonesian rainforest.

KFC U.K. has now said it will only work with suppliers that can "demonstrate sustainable forestry management throughout their supply chain and that are not actively involved in rain forest clearance."

It has also committed to ensuring any virgin material that is used does not contain mixed tropical hardwoods and plans to increase its use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accredited paper or cardboard with an overall goal of using 100 percent certified supplies.

Photo credit: TonyV3112 / Shutterstock.com

A KFC U.K. spokesman told BusinessGreen the new policy rules out future purchases from APP and said "all our suppliers stopped using APP several months ago."

The company now joins a list of major global brands, including Disney, Mattel, Nestlé, Xerox, Kraft, Unilever and Danone, that have cut ties with APP.

Greenpeace rainforest campaigner Ian Duff said millions of KFC customers would be "relieved to hear" the company no longer contributes to rainforest destruction.

"By walking away from companies like the increasingly 'toxic' APP brand, KFC U.K. is sending a strong message to the business community that it's not acceptable to buy from companies that are turning the rainforest into rubbish," he said in a statement.

"It's now crucial that Yum, KFC's parent company and the world's largest fast-food retailer, takes similar steps and introduces a global zero-deforestation policy to ensure that none of its operations, which span a 100-plus countries, are buying from suppliers like APP."

This piece originally appeared on Business Green and is reprinted with permission.