Burger King and South American deforestation | daily-sun.com

Burger King and South American deforestation

Sun Online Desk     1st July, 2017 03:09:11 printer

Burger King and South American deforestation

 

 

Burger King has pledged to stop deforestation by 2030 - that's just greenwashing, environmental activists say. Suppliers for the fast food chain are still responsible for deforestation in South America.

 

How environmentally friendly is your beef burger? There's the climate impact of meat production to consider, and the dubious value of using land for meat that could feed many more with vegetarian produce.

 

But what about the food beef cattle themselves eat?

 

Recent reports by environmental group Mighty Earth reveal forests are being torn down to produce soy, which is mainly used in animal feed.

 

Buge and Cargill, two of the world's largest soy producers, were responsible for the loss of nearly 700,000 hectares of Brazil's Cerrado forest in just four years, according to Mighty Earth.

They supply soy to companies including Burger King.

 

The self-proclaimed king of burgers recently pledged to stop deforestation by 2030. But environmental activists say this is nothing more than a marketing ploy - or "greenwashing," to build up an eco-friendly appearance.

 

All for a steak

 

Beef production is the world's biggest driver of tropical deforestation.

In some regions, beef causes twice as much damage to forests as any of the next three biggest culprits: soy, palm oil and wood products, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

 

But even eating meat from European cows could contribute to deforestation elsewhere in the world, as trees are felled to make way for soy.

 

WWF estimates that soy crops cover over 1 million square kilometers worldwide, equivalent to the combined area of France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Up to 75 percent of the world's soy is used in animal feed.

 

And environmental harm isn't the only byproduct of the soy industry. High rates of deforestation are also closely linked to human rights violations.

 

According to non-governmental organization Global Witness, Brazil was the deadliest country for environmental activism in 2015. Most of those murdered were fighting the clearing of forests.

 

Burger King scores zero

 

Burger King has made a public show of working to address the issue. But environmentalists say the company's 2030 goal is ludicrously unambitious.

"The pledge from Burger King to stop deforestation by 2030 is simply absurd and not acceptable," Lars Lovold, director of Rainforest Foundation Norway, told DW.

 

Settting a deadline so far in the future suggests it may never be met, activists fear. Rainforest Rescue campaigner Mathias Rittgerott says it's a move designed to boost sales rather than protect forests.

 

Burger King may be trying to catch up with its biggest competitor, McDonald's, which has made moves to improve its environmental image.

"Burger King has felt the pressure from other companies and wants to get out of the black list,” Rittgerott told DW.

 

A 2016 UCS study gave Burger King's efforts to tackle deforestation zero out of 100, saying it had failed to implement any policy or practice to stop deforestation along its supply chain.

 

Of the 13 companies evaluated, none was rated as "good." McDonald's came in second with 48 points out of 100.

 


Top