Dunkin’ Donuts Announces New Palm Oil Policy


Consumer, Forest Advocates Praise Dunkin’ Donuts

Zero-Deforestation Commitment for Palm Oil

All Eyes (and Mouths) Turn to Krispy Kreme

BOSTON, MA – Forest advocates and doughnut lovers celebrated a major victory today as Dunkin’ Brands announced a commitment to source 100% responsible, deforestation-free palm oil.

The move follows months of action by the Forest Heroes campaign, consumers and investors that have urged the company to stop frying its doughnuts in oil sourced from cleared rainforests. As the largest doughnut franchise in North America, Dunkin’ becomes the latest in a line of food and consumer product brands that pledge to clean up their supply chains in order to protect the world’s most critical forests and endangered species.

“Everyone knows America runs on Dunkin’, and now Dunkin’ is running on forest conservation,” said Deborah Lapidus, Forest Heroes Campaign Director. “We hope that other doughnut companies like Krispy Kreme and Tim Hortons follow Dunkin’s lead and take this opportunity to become Forest Heroes.” 

More and more consumers, investors, and suppliers around the world have shown that zero deforestation palm oil is possible – and in fact, more and more it is what consumers and investors expect.

“For Krispy Kreme and Tim Hortons, it’s time to make doughnuts that are delicious but not destructive,” said Kaytee Riek, Campaign and Training Director at SumOfUs. “It’s not so sweet to be left behind.”

Palm oil is a $50 billion a year commodity found in thousands of snack foods and other consumer products, but its most visible use in North America is in doughnuts.  Commercial doughnut companies like Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme, and Tim Hortons fry their doughnuts directly in palm oil, which is often the second ingredient listed after flour. Palm oil plantations have driven widespread destruction of tropical rainforests – pushing wildlife like Sumatran tigers and orangutans to the edge of extinction, exploiting local communities and workers, and adding enormous climate pollution to the atmosphere.

In the months leading up to this announcement, Forest Heroes activists in Boston and around the country encouraged Dunkin’ to be a Forest Hero, including by attending its corporate shareholders meeting in Quincy, MA last May. In June, Forest Heroes released a new analysis, Deforestation Doughnuts, that mapped the doughnut industry’s use of palm oil.  Forest Heroes also partnered with the online campaign organization SumofUs.org and the Union of Concerned Scientists, among other civil society groups, on the campaign. Of the three major doughnut companies analyzed in the report, Dunkin’ is the first to adopt responsible sourcing for its palm oil.

The new commitment announced today requires suppliers to adhere to the following principles:

  • No Deforestation: Suppliers must protect forests, endangered species habitat, lands with high carbon content, and ultra-high-carbon peatland of any depth.
  • No Exploitation: Suppliers are required to protect human and worker rights, and obtain Free, Prior, and Informed Consent from communities for all development on their lands.
  • Traceability: Dunkin’ is working with suppliers to trace all of its palm oil back to plantation sources.

For its U.S. supply chain, Dunkin’ set a compliance deadline of the end of 2016. The company has stores in over 55 countries and is rapidly expanding internationally, and committed to announcing a timeline for its international supply by March 2015.

“Dunkin’ Donuts has taken a major step toward being a Forest Hero,” said Lapidus. “Now, it must immediately start working with suppliers on implementation, and quickly adopt a compliance timeline for its international business. And, as an enormous buyer of coffee and sugar, it should expand its policy to cover all of the forest commodities in its products.”

Today, over 60 percent of the global palm oil trade is covered by zero deforestation policies. Dunkin’ joins a growing number of consumer brands that have adopted responsible palm oil sourcing commitments, including Nestlé, Kellogg’s, Mars, General Mills, ConAgra, Johnson & Johnson, and many others.

“Dunkin’s action today is helping drive the global momentum towards a second green revolution in which food is produced without threatening forests,” said Lapidus.

On September 16, 2014

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