Wendy’s Position on Palm Oil More Hype Than Action

Statement by Lael Goodman, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jun 25, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 25, 2015) – Wendy’s, the international fast food chain, today issued a statement on responsibly sourcing palm oil. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) says the company's palm oil position is more talk than action and does not indicate a serious commitment to reducing deforestation or climate emissions. 

The dramatic rise in demand for palm oil, a common ingredient in many fast food items, is driving increases in deforestation. Forests are frequently cleared to make way for oil palm plantations and the clearing of forests releases stored carbon emissions, contributing to climate change. In fact, tropical deforestation accounts for about 10 percent of all global carbon emissions. 

Below is a statement by Lael Goodman, analyst with UCS’s Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative:

“Wendy’s palm oil position paper is nothing more than greenwashing. The company is attempting to mislead consumers and shareholders into thinking Wendy’s is addressing the negative environmental and social impacts of palm oil. In reality, this statement shows Wendy’s isn’t protecting our climate or tropical forest.  

“But Wendy’s uninspiring commitment is hardly surprising. UCS scored the palm oil sourcing commitments for 40 consumer companies, including Wendy’s. For the past two years, the company has scored a zero of 100 possible points. While other companies are eager to show consumers that they are pro-forest by working to improve their scores, Wendy’s has shown no progress – and today’s statement does little to change that.  

“The company can’t claim that they didn’t know there was a problem. More than 20,000 consumers have urged Wendy's to source deforestation-free palm oil. Furthermore, Wendy’s also can’t claim that it is unable to procure deforestation-free palm oil, as more than 60 percent of the palm oil traded globally is covered by deforestation-free commitments.  

“The bottom line is that Wendy’s has some work to do if they actually want to protect forests and the environment.” 

For more about Wendy’s position paper, see Goodman’s blog post about it on UCS’s The Equation.