Burger King Dumps Palm Oil Supplier over Land-Use Practices

by | Sep 3, 2010

Burger King will no longer buy palm oil from Sinar Mas or its subsidiaries after an independent audit showed one of the company’s subsidiaries, SMART, had destroyed rainforests and carbon-dense peatlands in Borneo and Sumatra, according to a statement on the fast food restaurant’s Facebook page, reports Mongabay.

Burger King joins several companies including Unilever, Nestle, Cadbury and Kraft that have stopped buying from Sinar Mas or other suppliers linked to deforestation. The move is expected to put more pressure on other corporate buyers at restaurant chains including Pizza Hut, KFC and Dunkin’ Donuts, reports AFP.

Indonesia is the biggest producer of palm oil, which is used in everything from biscuits to cosmetics, according to AFP. Greenpeace claims that Sinar Mas, one of the largest producers of palm oil, is destroying the rainforest, endangering orangutans and reducing carbon dioxide sinks.

Burger King said on its Facebook page that the independent audit of land-clearing practices by Sinar Mas’ palm oil unit SMART “…raised valid concerns about some of the sustainability practices of Sinar Mas’ palm oil production and its impact on the rainforest,” reports AFP.

Burger King said it was looking for a new palm oil supplier for the 176 Burger King restaurants supplied by Sinar Mas, and would be notifying its suppliers that it plans to discontinue the use of palm oil supplied by the company.

The audit also found that SMART had violated Indonesian law on forest management, and launched operations on almost 38,000 hectares (94,000 acres) of land on Borneo before mandatory environmental studies had been completed, reports AFP. The company also planted palm oil crops in high-value deep peatland.

SMART said in a statement (PDF) on its website it was disappointed with Burger King’s decision and that it had “…made mistakes, but these are not to the extent that it has been made out to be,” reports Reuters. SMART also said it had taken the necessary action to ensure that the mistakes would not be repeated.

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