Activists from Greenpeace unfurled a banner on the Yum Brand headquarters on Gardiner Lane early this morning, in a move they say is meant to protest the company’s paper supplier. The banner has a picture of a Sumatran tiger. It says “KFC, stop trashing my home.”
Louisville Metro Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell says four of the protesters were cited with criminal mischief and trespassing, and the remaining five were cited for trespassing. None were taken into custody.
The move is the latest in a Greenpeace campaign against Asia Pulp & Paper. Greenpeace says KFC is sourcing its paper from the paper giant, which they say has an abysmal environmental record in caring for Asian forests.
From a press release:
Scientific testing and chain of custody research shows that some of KFC’s packaging comes from Indonesian rainforests and the company is sourcing paper from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) – one of the world’s most notorious forest destroyers and a company recently found using illegal timber.
Over sixty major companies across the world – such as Mattel, Xerox, Unilever, Kraft and Kroger – have suspended purchases from APP. “Other companies recognize that rainforest destruction is bad for business and that trading with APP is a peril to their brand. Other companies including, major competitor McDonald’s have taken some steps to address their impact on rainforests.
“KFC, and its parent company YUM! must stop buying packaging from APP and commit to a policy that protects rainforests. With only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild today, time is running out for these fast food giants to clean up their act,” said Greenpeace Forest Campaign director Rolf Skar.
Just last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Asia Pulp & Paper will suspend forest clearing activities in Indonesia.
The company, which holds rights to cut trees on more than one million hectares of land around Indonesia, pledged to temporarily stop the clearance of natural forests to feed its pulp and paper mills starting next month. The company’s pledge means that it will only use wood it has grown and harvested on its own plantations.
“We have been discussing this for the past 12 months and we understand that sustainability for us is a business decision,” said Aida Greenbury, APP’s managing director of sustainability. “We will first try to do this in the areas we control to minimize impact,” and later ask outside pulpwood suppliers to meet the same standards, she said.
While environmental groups were skeptical, some said if APP actually followed through on its promises, it would be a step forward. Greenpeace, which has backed global campaigns saying APP’s operations are destroying virgin forest and killing tigers, said if Asia Pulp & Paper was serious it should promise to stop all natural-forest clearing permanently.
In an e-mailed statement, a Yum Brands spokesperson said: “The fact is that 60% of paper products we purchase are sourced from sustainable forests, and suppliers are moving toward 100%.”
UPDATE: Asia Pulp & Paper has released a statement denouncing Greenpeace’s activism and saying the organization is misleading the public about Mixed Tropical Hardwood (MTH). “The truth is the presence of MTH fiber says nothing about whether the product is sustainable or not. It is perfectly possible for MTH fiber to come from legal and sustainable sources,” the statement said. “In fact, independent testing done by Covey Consulting in Australia last year showed that MTH fiber was present in many products that were approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) under its ‘Mixed Source’ Certification.”