Walmart, Kentucky Fried Chicken and other major brands driving rainforest destruction and pushing tigers and orang-utans to extinction

Feature Story - 2010-07-06
Beijing/Jakarta/London 6 July 2010 - Walmart, Auchan, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) are amongst the global brands fueling climate change and pushing Sumatran tigers and orang-utans towards the brink of extinction by using or selling paper made from Indonesia’s rainforests for products like cups, photocopy and tissue paper, a new Greenpeace report reveals today.

Greenpeace activists acting as dead Sumatran tigers stage a protest at the entrance of French retail giant Auchan Supermarket in Beijing, China, 6 July 2010.

The report, 'How Sinar Mas is Pulping the Planet', shows how major international companies are driving the destruction of Indonesia's rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands by sourcing paper from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) , part of the notorious Sinar Mas group.

Ma Lichao, Greenpeace China forest campaigner, said: "This investigation shows how major international companies like Walmart and KFC are causing Indonesia's peatland and forests to be slashed and burned for every-day paper products. Some of the world's best known brands are pulping the planet."

Greenpeace investigated two important rainforest areas on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and discovered that Sinar Mas is wreaking environmental havoc in both. The Bukit Tigapuluh Forest Landscape is one of the last refuges for endangered Sumatran tigers and orang-utans. Kerumutan's carbon rich peatlands are a key defence against climate change; some of the forest's peat is deeper than three meters and thus illegal to clear under Indonesian law. Sinar Mas' paper arm APP uses the logs from these rainforest areas to feed its Sumatran based pulp mills, which export pulp and paper products worldwide.

"These are just two of many important rainforests being decimated by Sinar Mas for pulp and paper and palm oil expansion. Indonesian President Yudyohono's new commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation will be undermined unless he extends the moratorium on new deforestation licenses to cover all forest and peatlands that are currently slated for destruction by Sinar Mas and other companies," said Ma Lichao.

Several leading companies have already responded to Greenpeace's evidence of the Sinar Mas group's illegal and destructive environmental practices in Indonesia and are cancelling their contracts with the palm oil and paper giant.

Today, Carrefour confirmed that it has already stopped buying from APP for its own brands, and Tesco has announced that it will do the same by the end of the year. In addition, Kraft has confirmed that it is phasing out APP paper and packaging, while Kimberly-Clark, Nestlé, and Unilever are implementing new policies that will also rule out supplies from APP, unless the company and its suppliers make substantial changes. Unilever, Kraft, and Nestlé have also dropped contracts with Golden Agri Resources (GAR), the Sinar Mas group's palm oil arm, following recent Greenpeace campaigns.

"Sinar Mas is not only guilty of environmental abuses but is a repeat offender - its 'sustainability commitments' are not worth the paper they are written on. Greenpeace is calling on all companies like Walmart and KFC to stop doing business with Sinar Mas immediately. It also urges them to publicly support the need for the Indonesian government to fully protect Indonesia's peatlands and to stop all rainforest destruction," continued Ma Lichao.

The destruction of rainforests and peatlands is the key reason why Indonesia accounts for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation. According to recent government estimates, Indonesia ranks as the world's third largest greenhouse gas emitter.