We got it our way! Burger King ditches Sinar Mas palm oil

Posted by jamie — 2 September 2010 at 2:39pm - Comments

The independent audit which Sinar Mas thought would absolve it of deforestation, peatland clearance and law-breaking is now exploding in front of its face like a firework in a munitions factory.

Greenpeace campaigners and supporters in the US have been demanding that Burger King drops Sinar Mas as a supplier until the group commits to ending deforestation and yesterday it did just that, announcing that "the report has raised valid concerns about some of the sustainability practices of Sinar Mas' palm oil production and its impact on the rainforest".

So now the evidence is coming in of how companies will respond to the audit (and the way Sinar Mas tried to conceal its findings by misleading customers, journalists and the stock markets).

Unilever said it wouldn't be reinstating Sinar Mas as a supplier until issues raised in the audit are addressed, but Burger King is the first big name customer Sinar Mas has lost since the audit was released and shows just how out of touch the Indonesian conglomerate remains.

While Burger King, Unilever, Nestle, Kraft and other companies want to avoid being linked to deforestation, Sinar Mas has continued destroying forests and draining peatlands. Our US colleagues are also working on Pizza Hut, KFC and Dunkin Donuts, asking them to follow in Burger King's footsteps.

In its announcement on its Facebook page, Burger King said:

"...the report has raised valid concerns about some of the sustainability practices of Sinar Mas' palm oil production and its impact on the rainforest. These practices are inconsistent with our corporate responsibility commitments.

"As a result, we have decided we will no longer purchase palm oil from Sinar Mas or its subsidiaries.  We are in the process of transitioning to a new palm oil supplier for the 176 Burger King restaurants that were supplied by Sinar Mas. In addition, we are notifying our suppliers of our intent to discontinue the use of palm oil supplied by Sinar Mas in the manufacturing of our products."

As with all corporate commitments, there are still details to work out with Burger King. They need to explain how they're going to handle indirect supplies of Sinar Mas palm oil and whether their rainforest policy will be amended to include other commodities like pulp and paper. We'll also be asking them about how they're implementing existing commitments they've made in relation to sourcing their beef from the Amazon.

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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