June 29, 2016

Burger King Parent Company’s Sustainability Framework Fails to Protect Tropical Forests

Statement by Lael Goodman, Policy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

OAKLAND, Calif. (June 29, 2016)—The new sustainability framework released today by Restaurant Brands International (RBI), the parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons, falls far short of ensuring that it will purchase commodities that are not linked to tropical deforestation, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). RBI is a global leader in fast food sales and a major purchaser of beef, soy, palm oil and paper products, which are widely recognized as the leading drivers of tropical deforestation.

RBI and its Burger King franchise are still laggards compared to their top competitor, McDonald’s. In particular, the company has failed to take any action to reduce its purchases of beef or soy products that may cause deforestation, and it cannot verify that the palm oil used in its products does not contribute to tropical forest and habitat destruction.

Below is a statement by Lael Goodman, UCS policy analyst.

“As consumer demand for zero-deforestation commodities continues to grow, RBI’s persistent intransigence threatens tropical forests around the world. Despite facing repeated consumer calls for a deforestation-free purchasing policy for years, RBI still can’t guarantee consumers that it is buying beef and other commodities that have not come from cleared tropical forests. The new policy fails, again, to assure consumers that RBI is on the path to sustainability. Its sustainability plan must include a commitment to verify with its suppliers that it is buying ingredients that have not caused deforestation.

“RBI’s sustainability plan says it is working towards the elimination of deforestation throughout its supply chain. However, the plan involves only the smallest efforts and amounts to little more than words on paper. It does little to help the global community reduce the heat-trapping pollution that causes climate change. It also poses a serious risk to RBI’s reputation in the marketplace. The company needs to improve its sustainability policy by ascertaining where its ingredients originate and immediately starting to implement deforestation-free purchases of all its products. We look forward to working with RBI to improve its sustainability framework and will continue to encourage consumers to demand that the company do better.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.