Blog post by Rusmadya Maharuddin
When you think of KFC most people think of buckets of fried chicken. So what does KFC have to do with Indonesia and why did Greenpeace Indonesia take action against the company on Wednesday?
Well, KFC is one of the most popular fast food chains in the country, with more than 400 stores, and if KFC gets its way, the company will have more than 1,000 stores by 2015. That’s a lot of potential rainforest destruction.
In fact, there are now more KFC stores in Indonesia than there are Sumatran tigers in the wild, and tragically, KFC sourcing practices are making the prospects for Indonesia’s one remaining tiger species even worse.
KFC is using Indonesia’s rainforests in its packaging and napkins. It’s heartbreaking to think that Indonesia’s precious rainforests will end up in KFC’s trash can, but if the company continues to source from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), this is exactly what will happen.
So to show what KFC really means in Indonesia, Greenpeace Indonesia took action on Wednesday by placing a giant KFC fries packet into an area that was until recently rainforest. We were accompanied by two activists dressed as Sumatran tigers.
This recently destroyed peatland forest area is located in Senepis, Sumatra. In 2004 the region’s Forestry Agency proposed a National Park for tiger conservation in Senepis as it recognised the area’s importance for Sumatran tiger conservation.
But two APP supplier companies (PT RUJ – Main Jaya and PT Ruas SGP – Suntara Gaja Pati) later cleared some forest areas that were inside the agreed sanctuary boundaries.
The photos say it all. This stretch of rainforest, mapped by conservation experts as habitat for Indonesia’s critically endangered tigers, has been completely cleared.
Despite the evidence presented in the ‘Junking the Jungle’ report, KFC continues to deny it has any links to APP. Perhaps KFC executives should read the writing on their boxes more?
Indeed, when Greenpeace researchers visited a local KFC outlet here in Indonesia they found that its napkin boxes had the logo of one of APP’s biggest mills printed on the box!
APP’s response attempted, once again, to distract attention from the issues.
Apparently ‘Mixed Tropical Hardwood is in everyday life’ and therefore it’s unfair that APP is being targeted. Whilst it’s a sad fact that MTH or rainforest fibre is part of APP’s everyday life and products – the point is it that it shouldn’t be and doesn’t have to be.
APP gives the impression that any MTH in its products is just ‘residual’ scrap wood or recycled fibre. So how can APP explain these scenes of deforestation, which shows just where its MTH actually comes from?
We Indonesians shouldn’t be forced to choose between protecting tigers and forests and eating at KFC. For us, the Sumatran tiger is a sacred national icon and a symbol of bravery. If KFC wants to win back the hearts of Indonesians it must show some bravery too and immediately suspend the company’s contracts with APP.
KFC must implement new policies to ensure that its supply chains aren’t leading to the loss of our last remaining rainforests and tiger habitat.
Thankfully we are not alone and thousands of people around the world have already taken action. Thank you!
We now need to increase the pressure, so if you haven’t already done so, please help create a deafening roar that KFC can’t ignore and join the global revolt to change KFC’s secret recipe for rainforest destruction.