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Dogwood Alliance Calls on KFC to Lead Fast Food Industry in Adopting Sustainable Packaging Policies

Louisvlile, Kentucky – The Dogwood Alliance today launched a national campaign calling on Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) to adopt rigorous paper packaging sourcing practices and stop contributing to the annual destruction of the southern forest region in the US. Despite being one of the largest industries relying on paper products from the South, only one southern mill out of approximately 100 that produce paper packaging are sourcing from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sustainably managed forests. 

The Dogwood Alliance held a public rally in front of KFC’s flagship store in Louisville, KY to launch their ongoing Kentucky Fried Forests Campaign. The organization intends to keep putting pressure on KFC until the company takes meaningful action to protect southern forests through reducing waste and increasing the use of recycled content and FSC certified paper.

“KFC prides itself as a southern heritage brand while it has knowingly contributed to the destruction of the natural riches within this community for decades,” stated Danna Smith, Executive Director of Dogwood Alliance. “It’s time for KFC to lead, and prevent these areas that have served as flood barriers, a vital source of clean drinking water and places of recreation for southerners for hundreds of years, from becoming disposable buckets for KFC chicken.”

The southern region of the US is the largest paper producing region in the world (greater than any other single country), providing 20% of the globe’s pulp, paper and lumber while only being home to 2% of the world’s forests.

In the South, an area larger than the state of New Hampshire, is clearcut every year mostly for paper and paper packaging production. While other industries, including office supplies and cosmetics, have introduced standards for sustainably sourced paper products from suppliers, the fast food industry has been a slow mover in adopting practices despite years of engagement from groups like the Dogwood Alliance.

Forestry, not development, has been the largest cause of wetland destruction in the South.International Paper (IP), the world’s largest pulp and paper manufacturer, operates nine mills in the South whose sourcing circles are draining the most precious biodiverse land resources in the region (Southern Swampland Report). IP has long been associated with the worst forestry practices, including large-scale clearcutting and the conversion of diverse natural forests to sterile mono-culture plantations. As a major purchaser of paper products from International Paper, KFC has the ability to influence industry-wide change by committing to only using FSC certified products for the company’s needs throughout its supply chain, from shipping to stores.

Not only a laggard to change, both Independent Paper and KFC engage in greenwashing tactics by endorsing the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification scheme, a green label on products made from business-as-usual industrial forestry practices. Founded by the forestry industry initially as a public relations program, SFI remains under the control of forestry industry associations. The scheme’s requirements lack crucial elements for achieving the goals of sustainable forestry management and chain of custody. FSC certification is considered the international gold standard for credible certification by environmental groups and forward-thinking companies both on the supply and demand side.

Dogwood Alliance works with industry leaders across sectors to reduce their impact on southern forests. Dogwood Alliance was recently a driving force for the incorporation of FSC certified practices among the major office supply retailers and producers including StaplesOffice Depot and DomtarUniversal Music Group and Sony Home Entertainment‘s recent adoption of greater recycled content policies also resulted from collaboration with the organization.

Dogwood Alliance is the only organization in the South holding corporations accountable for the impact of their industrial forestry practices on our forests and communities. Through a combination of persistent grassroots pressure and skillful negotiation, we achieve the results necessary to create real and lasting protection for Southern forests. www.dogwoodalliance.org