Many folks have probably never heard of Sinar Mas before, and the company no doubt likes it that way. But most have heard of Burger King, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Through Sinar Mas, these fast food joints are helping destroy Indonesia’s rainforests.
Sinar Mas is a huge conglomerate that dominates the palm oil industry in Indonesia, and a brazenly irresponsible one at that. It constantly flouts industry guidelines, Indonesian law, and even its own public statements as it razes rainforests to the ground to create palm plantations. The company is a notorious destroyer of Indonesia’s Paradise Forests, which house the critical habitats of endangered species such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers.
On top of this, Sinar Mas’ giant pulp and paper subsidiary, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), is the world’s fifth largest tissue maker and is also one of the major threats facing Indonesia’s carbon-rich rainforests and peatlands, the destruction of which has made Indonesia the third largest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet, behind only the U.S. and China.
A new Greenpeace report exposes the destructive practices of APP and shines a light on the companies that are still doing business with Sinar Mas. The report, “Pulping the Planet,” shows that Sinar Mas is still sourcing from critical orangutan and Sumatran tiger habitat such as the Bukit Tigapulu Forest Landscape and Kerumutan Peat Forest.
Now that the company’s controversial practices are being brought to light, its major customers are leaving in droves. But other Sinar Mas customers, such as Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts and Pizza Hut, have yet to stop serving up the company’s forest destruction.
You might recall when my Greenpeace colleagues in the UK were running a campaign against Nestle because it was using Sinar Mas palm oil to make Kit Kats. (In the U.S., Kit Kat is made by Hershey, so we weren’t running the same campaign). We demanded Nestle stop sourcing its palm oil from Sinar Mas, and we won. The company eventually acquiesced (though it took some creative encouragement on our part).
Nestle is not the only one to see the light: Other major multinational companies such as Kraft and Unilever have followed suit, taking steps to cut Sinar Mas out of their supply chains to ensure they’re not complicit in the company’s dirty deeds.
You can take action too get these fast food companies on board. Help save the Paradise Forests by signing the petition calling on several fast food companies — Burger King, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin’ Donuts, all of whom were listed as key global customers of Sinar Mas in 2009 — to end their contracts with Sinar Mas until the company establishes policies that protect the rainforests and peatlands.
Photo credit: Hakan Dahlstrom