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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Dunkin’ Brands, Krispy Kreme Commit to Sustainable Palm Oil


Dunkin’ Brands Group, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, announced its commitment to source only 100 percent sustainable palm oil for its U.S. locations by 2016. Less than a day after Dunkin’s announcement, Krispy Kreme also committed to source 100 percent responsibly produced palm oil.

Dunkin’ Brands will work with its suppliers and its franchisee-owned purchasing cooperatives to source palm oil that's 100 percent fully traceable to the mill by the end of 2015, and to the plantation by the end of 2016 for its Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. restaurants. By March 1, 2015, Dunkin’ Brands will develop and publish a phased implementation plan.

Dunkin’ Brands will require suppliers to adhere to certain standards, including:

  • No development of high-carbon stock forest and high-conservation areas

  • No burning in preparation of land or in development

  • Progressive reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on existing plantations from all sources

  • No development on peat areas

  • No exploitation of people and communities

Forest Heroes activists pressured Dunkin’ Donuts to commit to sourcing sustainable palm oil. A campaign that called on Dunkin’ to 'be a Forest Hero' culminated in activists attending the company’s shareholders meeting in Quincy, Massachusetts in May. While Forest Heroes is happy with Dunkin’s announcement, the nonprofit expressed concern that the commitment only extends to the U.S. and not beyond. The company will not determine the international timeline until March 2015 after it has mapped its international supply chain. Forest Heroes states that it will be “urging Dunkin’ to review its international supply chain as quickly as possible and implement an equally strong commitment abroad.”

Krispy Kreme’s commitment goes further

Krispy Kreme’s commitment goes further than Dunkin’ Brands as it sets a deadline for compliance globally. Forest Heroes calls the company’s commitment a “race to the top.” Krispy Kreme states on its website that its commitment to source sustainable palm oil started in January with a commitment to source palm oil only from suppliers certified by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for its U.S. locations. Now, the company is committing to achieve 100 percent responsible sourcing of palm oil worldwide. By the end of 2016, all of the company’s palm oil will come from RSPO certified sources, RSPO mass-balance, mixed-source supply and GreenPalm certificates purchases. All of Krispy Kreme’s suppliers will be required to trace their palm oil to plantations that protect forests and peatlands, don’t exploit  communities and workers, and comply with RSPO principles and criteria.

Palm oil industry causes environmental destruction

Palm oil is a $50 billion a year commodity and is found in half of all consumer goods. About half of the world’s palm oil comes from environmentally destructive sources that cut down rainforests and destroy peatland. Companies have cleared more than 30,000 square miles of forest to make room for palm oil plantations. Between 1990 and 2005, 55 to 60 percent of palm oil expansion in Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producing countries, caused virgin tropical forests to be cut down. As a result, Sumatran tigers and orangutans are on the brink of extinction.

Image credit: Krispy Kreme

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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