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Home » Engagement, News, Sustainability

Burger King to eco-activists: have it your way

Submitted by on September 2, 2010 – 10:39 am15 Comments

In what is being hailed a victory for the world’s rainforests, Burger King has dropped Indonesian palm oil producer Sinar Mas from its list of suppliers, the third major brand to cave to a Greenpeace pressure campaign that’s been stalking the corporate pages of Facebook over the past six months.

Greenpeace has used to great effect social media channels to confront companies one-on-one about their business ties with suppliers it calls rainforest wreckers. Its most recent scalp is the King. In late July, Greenpeace unleashed its latest broadside against Sinar Mas accusing the pulp-paper-and-palm-oil conglomerate of “continu[ing] to clear rainforest containing priceless biodiversity.” It didn’t stop there. In a recurring tactic, Greenpeace went after one of Sinar Mas’ most visible customers, Burger King.

As it did with Nestlé, Greenpeace encouraged its army of nearly 600,000 Facebook activists to badger the Burger King Facebook custodians with demands to withdraw all ties with Sinar Mas. No more than a month later and Burger King, which is caught in a tense M&A battle at the moment, delivered this white flag:

And how has the Facebook public reacted to the news of Sinar Mas’ boot? Sheer joy for the orangutans and a huge boost in respect and loyalty from Burger King’s hungry customers. Greenpeace has even heaped it on, encouraging its members to go to the Burger King page and thank the company for its actions:

Perhaps it was the heat of a takeover battle that convinced Burger King to distance itself from any further bad publicity. Whatever the reason, it was a wise move. Earlier this year, Nestlé suffered a major PR crisis online for its dealing with Sinar Mas palm oil in its Kit-Kat bars, and its online presence has still to make a full recovery.


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