Burger King Among Brands Profiting from Deforestation

Land cleared for cattle is destroying the Amazon rainforest and companies such as Burger King, Hormel, and Pizza Hut are to blame.


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A report compiled by The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) revealed that the top 13 United States consumer products brands lack sufficient policies to ensure they are not directly participating in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. The report identified the clearing of land for beef production as the number one culprit of deforestation in South America, followed by the production of soy—most of which is used for animal feed. UCS graded each company out of a possible 100 points, basing their ratings on whether there were policies in place regarding obtaining beef from South American suppliers, whether those policies were being implemented, and how transparent companies were in identifying the origin of their beef ingredients. Burger King, ConAgra Foods, Kroger, and Pizza Hut each received a score of zero—as all lacked public policies that would detach them from “deforestation-risk beef.” UCS gave Subway, Jack Link’s, Wendy’s, Hormel Foods, Nestlé, and Safeway scores below 30, due to their weak policies. McDonald’s, Mars, and Walmart received the highest scores for. USC noted, “They all need to improve, particularly in terms of the ambition of their commitments and their transparency, traceability, monitoring, and verification.” UCS believes that policy gaps within these 13 companies enable them to profit from deforestation. In August, the United States Department of Agriculture lifted a 2003 ban on beef exported from Brazil and Argentina. To remediate the problem, UCS recommends that patrons take action. “Consumers can help save forests by demanding that these 13 companies take deforestation off their menus and out of their ingredients.”