Manaus, Brazil – As fires continue to ravage the Amazon, Greenpeace International has launched a campaign asking fast-food giants Burger King, McDonald’s and KFC to reject goods linked to environmental destruction in the Amazon and across Brazil. 

“President Bolsonaro can only pursue his anti-environmental agenda so long as companies are willing to accept the products that fuel destruction and exacerbate climate change. Fast food companies buying from Brazil cannot continue business as usual while the biggest rainforest in the world is burnt down for cattle farms,” said Tica Minami, Campaign Director at Greenpeace Brazil.

Close to 2.5 million hectares of land – including significant new deforestation – was burned in Brazilian Amazon during August, according to new data published by INPE on September 3.[1] The number of fires in the Amazon increased by 111% since the start of President Bolsonaro’s presidency.[2]

Fast food companies are important users of the products that drive deforestation in Brazil – beef and soya (used in animal feed).[3] They also contribute new demand by aggressively marketing meat products in emerging markets and around the world.[4] McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, and other fast-food companies have zero-deforestation policies in place but are failing to meet these commitments.

In other sectors, VF Corporation, owner of Timberland and The North Face, announced that it is suspending leather purchases from Brazil until “the materials used in our products do not contribute to environmental harm in the country.”[5] Investment firms Nordea Asset Management, Storebrand ASA and KLP pension fund announced activities to monitor or limit investments in Brazil.[6]

“This is a crisis. We can’t protect the climate without the Amazon. Companies don’t have the luxury of staying silent. Burger King, McDonald’s and KFC need to take a stand against the increase in forest destruction under Bolsonaro’s term, for the sake of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil and everyone on the planet.” said Minami. 

People around the world are expected to demonstrate for Amazon Day tomorrow, following a call from Brazil’s biggest Indigenous association, APIB.[7] The Amazon is also expected to be a prominent issue as people take to the streets during Climate Week in New York City and the Student and General Strikes September 20th and 27th respectively. Besides demanding action from politicians and companies, Greenpeace says individuals can also eat less meat and dairy as a way to ease the long-term pressure on the Amazon and other threatened ecosystems.

-30-

Photos:

https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJ84EUZR

Notes to editors:

[1] Exact figure is 24,944 km2, published on INPE’s website.

[2] Between 1 January and 31 August, compared to the same period in 2018 according to data by INPE.

[3] For example, McDonald’s is one of the world’s biggest buyers of beef, including sourcing from Brazil. McDonald’s in Europe is reported to buy chicken fed on imported soy, including from Brazil.

[4] For example, McDonald’s plans to almost double its presence in China by opening 2,000 new restaurants by 2022. KFC, the first global fast food giant to move into India, now has 380 stores in the country; it initially planned to promote its vegetarian menu but abandoned these plans to expand sales of chicken.

[5] Reported in Reuters. Mowi ASA, the world’s largest salmon producer, has also said it would stop buying from Brazil unless the country curbs Amazon deforestation.

[6] Nordea Asset Management is suspending Brazilian government bond purchases. Storebrand ASA and pension fund KLP are engaging with companies to make sure they don’t contribute to environmental damage in Brazil’s Amazon.

[7] Amazon Day Website

 

For more information, please contact:

Marie-Christine Fiset, Head of Media, Greenpeace Canada

marie-christine.fiset@greenpeace.org; +1 514 972-6316

Reykia Fick, Global Communications Lead – Forests, Greenpeace Canada reykia.fick@greenpeace.org; +1-819-918-0470 (EDT)