Burger King, Take Deforestation Off The Menu!

  • by: Mary E
  • recipient: Burger King

Beef patties aren’t the only thing that Burger King is flame-grilling: the world's second-largest fast food chain has recently been linked to the continued destruction of over 1.7 MILLION acres of tropical forests in South America! We demand that Burger King take deforestation off the menu now!

In Brazil, investigators with the NGO Mighty Earth witnessed Burger King’s largest soy suppliers "ripping up" the ancient Cerrado, a rich tropical savannah which contains 5% of global biodiversity and is the sole source of water for millions of people. Half of this vital ecosystem, home to threatened species such as jaguars and maned wolves, has already been destroyed.

Meanwhile, in the Bolivian Amazon rainforest, Burger King’s suppliers financed local soybean farmers as they violently forced indigenous peoples off of their native lands and used “systematic fires” to clear the forest, sending acrid smoke across the whole region and releasing millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Members of Bolivia’s Ayoreo indigenous community report that several children died after drinking water contaminated with pesticides from a nearby soy plantation – soy used to feed the livestock that go into the 11 million Whoppers, Crispy Chickens, and other sandwiches that Burger King sells every single day.

Unlike many of its competitors, Burger King has done nothing to stop this destruction!

Burger King is the only major fast-food chain that has refused to implement a zero-deforestation policy or provide information about the origin of its commodities. In fact, the “Corporate Responsibility” page of Burger King’s website fails to mention deforestation or human rights at all! As consumers, we have the power to demand that Burger King do better.

Mighty Earth estimates that there are 500 million acres of degraded land across South America where agriculture can be expanded without harming native ecosystems, and in 2006, consumer pressure led the soy industry to voluntarily ban purchases of soy grown on deforested land in the Brazilian Amazon. Brazil’s environment minister now wants the successful moratorium extended to other native ecosystems like the Cerrado, and Burger King can lead the way.

Since Burger King is the second largest fast food chain in the world, a commitment to clean up their supply chain will go a long way towards eliminating all deforestation and human rights abuses for fast food.

We demand that Burger King immediately institute a firm, time-bound, and transparent zero-deforestation policy for all commodities in its supply chain. It must regularly audit all suppliers to ensure that their practices do not contribute to deforestation; suspend or eliminate purchases from suppliers that fail to comply; and it must report its progress towards zero deforestation to customers and stakeholders.

Until Burger King takes deforestation off the menu, we will be dining at a more responsible restaurant! 

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