Great news this week if you live in a rainforest, or if you just care about the rainforest: Pizza Hut parent company Yum! announced that by the end of 2017, our restaurant family will only buy palm oil cooking oil from responsibly-sourced suppliers. TLDR: we are committing to saving the environment, one fryer at a time.
Palm oil, which comes from palm trees that only grow in wet tropics, is used in 41,000 Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC restaurants worldwide. Growers of the palm trees routinely devastate tropical rainforests to grow more palm groves, leading to habitat loss for some of the coolest animals—elephants, orangutans, rhinos, and tigers. If you don’t like animals, you should still be concerned: some growers also have a reputation for stealing land from local communities and exploiting child labor on their plantations. It’s not a good scene.
But, Yum! is stepping up to make a difference, committing to only buying palm oil from suppliers that are proven protectors of tropical rainforests and peatlands and who transparently source their product. The announcement follows a report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (yes that is their real name), which rates the largest companies in industries such as packaged food, personal care, and fast food on their responsible use of palm oil. Fast food companies were among the worst, so let’s hope that Yum!’s announcement will be the push others need to take better care of our planet!
Photo Credit: Big Stock/Waterlily