Burger King cancels palm oil contract with rainforest destroyer Sinar Mas

Feature Story - 7 September, 2010
Don't blink or you'll miss more exciting news from the fast-moving campaign to protect the last remaining ancient forests! Last week, after Greenpeace campaigned across the US, Burger King said it is in the process of cutting forest destroyer, Sinar Mas, out of its supply chain.

Roads in a drastically deforested area close to Sentarum Lake National Park, West Kalimantan. The land has been cleared by a subsidiary of Sinar Mas Group, Indonesia's largest palm oil.

By taking this action, Burger King is joining companies like Nestlé, Kraft, and Unilever who have already stopped their direct contracts with Sinar Mas on the grounds of its destructive practices.

This is another blow for the palm oil giant, which had hoped its self-commissioned audit would convince corporate customers and the media that it was a sustainable company. This obvious exercise in greenwash isn't going well for them. Not only is the audit limited in scale (applying only to a subsidiary of a subsidiary of Sinar Mas) and limited in scope (examining only a few case studies instead of systemic problems) but it also confirms that Sinar Mas has broken its word and operated illegally.

In its announcement, Burger King said: "...the report has raised valid concerns about some of the sustainability practices of Sinar Mas' palm oil production and its impact on the rainforest. These practices are inconsistent with our corporate responsibility commitments.

As a result, we have decided we will no longer purchase palm oil from Sinar Mas or its subsidiaries. We are in the process of transitioning to a new palm oil supplier for the 176 BURGER KING® restaurants that were supplied by Sinar Mas. In addition, we are notifying our suppliers of our intent to discontinue the use of palm oil supplied by Sinar Mas in the manufacturing of our products."

As with all corporate commitments, there are still details to work out with Burger King. For example, we need to hear how they are going to handle indirect supplies of Sinar Mas palm oil and whether its rainforest policy will be amended to include commodities like palm oil (it currently only applies to beef).

But, this announcement is certainly good news for rainforests, orang-utans, tigers, and our climate!

Now other companies must take action. It's time for other fast-food chains like KFC, agribusiness giant Cargill, and Australian firms like Solaris and Paperlinx to take action for rainforests. They must cut forest destroyers such as the Sinar Mas group (who sell pulp and paper as well as palm oil) out of their supply chains immediately.

Read our latest report uncovering Sinar Mas' destructive practices in Indonesia