NEW YORK – Yum Brands is making its trademark KFC chicken buckets using wood harvested from Indonesias rain forest, destroying the habitat of the endangered Sumatran tiger, Greenpeace International said.
Independent tests on food boxes purchased at stores in Indonesia, Britain and China in the past two years found fibers from tropical hardwood trees, according to a Greenpeace report last week. More than half the material in some KFC chicken buckets in China came from such wood, said Rolf Skar, forest campaign director for Greenpeace.
Since 1996, Indonesia has lost about 5 million acres of forest a year to logging, double the rate in the 1980s, according to Global Forest Watch in Washington, D.C.
Globally, the loss of forests, which remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, accounts for a fifth of emissions blamed for global warming. Yums China unit generated 44 percent of 2011 revenue.
Do consumers want to have chicken wrapped in rain forests, or is there a better way of doing business? Skar said in an interview. A big customer like KFC, theyre massive in places like China and Indonesia, they have a lot of control over where they get their paper.
Greenpeace supporters hung a sign on Yums headquarters building in Louisville, Ky., early Wednesday as part of the protest. Police and fire units were at the scene before 8 a.m., Jessa Latona, a Greenpeace spokeswoman, said in an email.
Forensic tests on KFCs paper products confirm a previous Greenpeace report linking the fast-food chain to deforestation. Yum buys packaging from Sinar Mas Groups pulp-paper unit, which Greenpeace said has been logging in the rain forests.
Jonathan Blum, a spokesman for Yum, in an email said 60 percent of the paper purchased by the company is from sustainable forests, with suppliers aiming for 100 percent. The Greenpeace protest is a publicity stunt, Blum said.
Nestle and Unilever stopped buying palm oil from Jakarta-based Sinar Mas, the parent of Asia Pulp & Paper, after Greenpeace said the company was destroying Indonesian rain forests for palm-oil plantations. The environmental group urged Yum and other companies to stop buying from Asia Pulp & Paper.
More than 60 companies have either ended supply contracts with Asia Pulp & Paper or sold their shares, Latona said.