KFC-Indonesia suspends purchases from Asia Pulp & Paper due to deforestation, says Greenpeace

/ Mongabay.com

The Indonesian arm of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has suspended purchases from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) due to concerns over deforestation, says Greenpeace, which is campaigning to reform the paper giant's forestry practices and fiber sourcing policy.

The Indonesian arm of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has suspended purchases from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) due to concerns over deforestation, says Greenpeace, which is campaigning to reform the paper giant’s forestry practices and fiber sourcing policy.

“Following a first meeting between KFC Indonesia and Greenpeace, KFC Indonesia has issued a statement to address the issues of deforestation in its supply chain and declared its decision to suspend purchases from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) at this time,” Greenpeace campaigner Rolf Skar wrote in a blog post Wednesday. Mongabay.com was unable to independently confirm the suspension with KFC Indonesia by publication time.

The move is significant because Greenpeace is in the midst of a campaign to pressure KFC to drop APP as a supplier after an investigation by the activist group found rainforest fiber in the form of mixed tropical timber — which in the case of APP, comes only from natural forests — in KFC products. Greenpeace says KFC has yet to implement a forest policy for its global operations that would ensure its packaging does not contribute to deforestation in Indonesia.

“Greenpeace welcomes KFC Indonesia’s commitment to address the issues of deforestation in its supply chain and the decision to suspend purchases from APP,” Greenpeace told mongabay.com. “However, as yet no memorandum of understanding has been reached and Greenpeace has made it clear that our campaign against KFC globally will continue until the company implements global commitments to remove deforestation from its supply chain.”

Greenpeace activists dressed as tigers, perform street theatre in front of a KFC outlet in Quezon City

Greenpeace activists dressed as tigers, perform street theater in front of a KFC outlet in Quezon City, the Philippines. © Matimtiman / Greenpeace

“We very much hope that the decisions made by KFC in Indonesia can positively influence the international HQ of KFC to make immediate commitments to remove APP from supply chains and to tackle the deforestation issue. KFC Indonesia must be a leader and set the example for KFC globally to follow, immediately cutting ties with forests destruction.”

APP has been hard hit by ongoing complaints from environmental groups, conservation organizations, and scientists over its forest management practices which have been linked to destruction of tropical forests and carbon-dense peatlands on the island of Sumatra. In recent years, dozens of companies have stopped buying from APP, which rivals Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) as Indonesia’s largest pulp and paper producer.

In an effort to counter criticism, APP has engaged in an aggressive public relations campaign against Greenpeace, WWF, and other NGOs directly and through proxies abroad, but in recent months the paper giant has softened its tone. In May APP announced it would have the capacity to phase out sourcing fiber from conversion of natural forests by 2015. It also committed to conducting high conservation value assessment of all of its plantations by 2015 and introducing a system for measuring carbon emissions from its forestry operations. So far the moves have been met with a tepid response from NGOs, which noted APP failed to meet past targets for phasing out logging of natural forests.

APP’s sister company, palm oil producer Golden-Agri Resources (GAR), last year adopted a forest policy that has been generally viewed positively by environmentalists. The policy prohibits conversion of land with more than 35 tons of carbon, a stipulation that excludes development of most forests and peatlands for plantations. APP would be challenged to adopt the policy because its concessions contain large areas of forest and peatland, but continuing pressure from environmentalists and customer defections could eventually force it to implement and maintain stronger safeguards.

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