The Dogwood Alliance, an environmental group dedicated to preserving southern forests in the U.S., has launched a national campaign urging Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) to adopt sustainable sourcing practices for paper packaging and to stop contributing to the annual destruction of the southern forest region in the United States.
The environmental group is calling on KFC to take action to protect southern forests by reducing waste and increasing its use of recycled content and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper.
Dogwood Alliance claims that while the fast food industry is one of the largest consumers of southern forest products, it has been slow to adopt sustainable sourcing practices for paper products. In addition, only one southern mill out of approximately 100 that produce paper packaging is sourcing from FSC certified and sustainably managed forests, according to the alliance.
Dogwood Alliance launched its Kentucky Fried Forests campaign with a public rally in front of KFC’s flagship store in Louisville, Kentucky, reports Triple Pundit. The alliance also wants Yum!, owner of the KFC brand, and its other restaurant chains — Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Long John Silvers — to use FSC certified sources.
The environmental group has had some success in pushing major corporations — including Staples and Sony — to purchase paper and packaging materials only from sources certified by FSC, reports Triple Pundit.
Dogwood Alliance reports that the southern region of the U.S. is the largest paper producing region in the world, providing 20 percent of the globe’s pulp, paper and lumber, yet it’s home to only 2 percent of the world’s forests. The alliance claims that an area larger than the state of New Hampshire is clear cut every year in the south primarily for paper and paper packaging production.
The environmental group also claims that International Paper (IP), a major supplier to KFC, which operates nine mills in the south is draining biodiverse land resources in the region and practicing large-scale clearcutting.
Scot Quaranda, the Kentucky Fried Forests campaign director, told Triple Pundit that IP has a member on the board of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), an alternative forest-certification group that is backed by the paper industry, which he considers “to be the fox guarding the hen house.”
The alliance believes KFC has the ability to influence industry-wide change by committing to purchasing only FSC certified products throughout its supply chain.
Triple Pundit reported that IP claims to have “the largest FSC manufacturing platform across the globe.” Quaranda responded in the article that this is part of IP’s efforts at greenwashing its environmental record. Although IP holds FSC Chain of Custody certificates, it only means the mills have been certified to handle fiber, not necessarily that they are using FSC fiber, he stated.