Palm oil is a popular vegetable oil found in a wide-array of products and all throughout the food industry. Chocolate bars, shampoo, fast food, ice cream and cosmetics all contain palm oil, and since trans-fats became verboten, bakeries now use it to fry their pastries.
But massive international demand for the oil has led to deforestation in both Asia and the Amazon, almost half of which is carried out illegally. The deforestation is endangering the local and global ecosystem, endangering species and contributing to further climate change.
In July, Cargill, one of the two commodity traders that sells Dunkin’ Brands its palm oil, pledged that it would purchase zero-deforestation palm oil. It has now partnered with The Forest Trust to carry out that pledge.
“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,” said Forest Heroes, an environmental group that advocates for zero-deforestation palm oil, in a press release.
Dunkin’ Brands’ decision to buy its palm oil from non-deforestation sources was part of a passionate eco-campaign on the part of Forest Heroes.
“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.”
At the time of Lapidus’ statement, Krispy Kremes had not yet announced its own commitment. It did not take long for the rival donut franchise to do so, pledging that it would phase out most if not all purchases of deforestation-derived palm oil by 2016.