Tell Wal-Mart, KFC, and Others to Stop Sumatran Deforestation

Tell Wal-Mart, KFC, and Others to Stop Sumatran Deforestation

What do Wal-Mart, KFC, Dunkin Donuts, and Burger King have in common when it comes to the environment? You might say they pollute, they sell harmful products loaded with chemicals—whether they be in personal care products or hormones—and they don’t do much in terms of recycling, reusing, and supporting sustainability. (You might also say that those of us who use them don’t, either.)

One thing they all specifically do is kill the rainforests of Indonesia. They’re not alone in their deforestation efforts; in fact, they have lots of help from the other companies that use the Sinar Mas group and the Asian Pulp & Paper company. Two forests on the island of Sumatra—the Kerumutan Forest and the Bukit Tigapulah Forest—are steadily being wiped out by the group and its subsidiary, gutted for their palm oil and trees. Unsustainable paper and other products are then made from the practice.

In Indonesia, this is against the law, and for good reason: it promotes erosion, releases carbon in the soil, and results in the loss of habitat for Sumatran animals—such as the threatened orangutan, who may be extinct within the next two decades; the Sumatran tiger, which only has 500 of its kind left in the wild; the critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros, which has only 300 of its kind remaining in the wild; and a plethora of plant species not found anywhere else on Earth. Deforestation also causes 20% of the world’s global warming, which is another reason why Greenpeace is asking the U.S. to step up and stop it from happening.

In other words, these companies couldn’t have picked a worse spot to cut down trees.

What I want to know is, who the hell gave these companies clearance to do this in the first place? These resources belong to no one—and if anyone should have a say over what happens to these dying species and lands, it should be the Indonesian government. Oh, wait, they say it’s illegal—so why the hell is it still going on?!

You and I can use our spending powers to help keep this from happening. By refusing to buy goods from these companies unless they stop their actions, we can send the message that we don’t support them or their deforestation techniques, and that they’d better A. get their supplier to change or B. change suppliers. We know it can be done; plenty of other companies—from Kimberly-Clark to Staples, Office Depot to Nestle—have pledged to stop using these suppliers.