Forest Commitment

According to the UN, more than 1.6 billion people depend on forests for food, water, fuel, medicines, traditional cultures and livelihoods. Forests also support up to 80% of biodiversity on land and play a vital role in safeguarding the climate by naturally capturing and storing carbon. As a company with global operations and a complex supply chain, we acknowledge that we have an important role to play in eliminating deforestation within our industry and promoting sustainable forest management practices in commodity sourcing around the world.

At Restaurant Brands International, our goal is to eliminate deforestation within our global supply chain. In particular, we aim to: ensure our high-risk commodities do not directly or indirectly contribute to deforestation; promote responsible land use that prevents ecosystem degradation, protect humane working conditions and legitimate land use rights; and work toward traceability to farm in order to monitor compliance with our deforestation policy.

In this pursuit, we support the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) current definition of deforestation, as follows:

"Deforestation is the conversion of forest to another land use or the long-term reduction of the tree canopy cover. This includes conversion of natural forest to tree plantations, agriculture, pasture, water reservoirs and urban areas but excludes timber production areas managed to ensure the forest regenerates after logging."

As part of our forest commitment, we are working with our approved supply chain suppliers and franchisees towards the following by 2030 or sooner for priority commodities (including beef, palm oil, soy in poultry feed, coffee, fiber-based packaging):

  • No deforestation of primary forests

  • No deforestation of areas of High Conservation Value

  • No development of High Carbon Stock forest areas

  • No development on peatlands

  • The respect of human rights as per our Vendor Code

  • The right of all impacted communities to provide or withhold free, prior and informed consent

Our Approach

In support of our commitment, Restaurant Brands International has established goals and activities in several areas, which we will continue to build out in 2021.

Priority commodities:

We concentrate our deforestation-related work on key commodities that are recognized as having greater deforestation risks: beef, palm oil, soy in poultry feed, coffee and fiber-based packaging.

Commodity-specific goals:

We have established responsible sourcing targets for palm oil and fiber-based packaging.

Supply chain engagement:

We are working with our approved suppliers, both through internal engagement and through the CDP’s Supply Chain Forests program, to understand suppliers’ efforts on deforestation and compliance with Restaurant Brands International’s commitment.

Collaboration:

We participate in the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) and the Roundtable on Responsible Soy, which both work to address deforestation in their respective commodity chains.

Identifying solutions and tools:

We are currently assessing tools to support monitoring of compliance with our forest commitment and for us to integrate sustainability criteria into our procurement approval process.

In 2020, we engaged with expert third parties, industry roundtables and suppliers to develop a Deforestation Policy that will support us to achieve our commitment to forests. The policy outlines requirements for both direct and indirect suppliers regarding: compliance (e.g. maintaining accountability via assurance programs), land use management & governance, traceability of commodities to farm origin, and workers’ rights.

Restaurant Brands International is assessing how to best verify compliance with these requirements, with consideration to a mix of relevant methods that may be used across the value chain, including: satellite imagery monitoring; supplier record documentation; audits along with corrective and preventive action plans where needed; and/or supplier certifications. In the case of non-conformances, we will pursue appropriate actions with suppliers based on the severity of the non-conformance.

In 2021, we will work with internal and external stakeholders to develop a strategy and timeline to implement these requirements globally.

Supplier Engagement

As a demonstration of our commitment to forests and our vision to eliminate deforestation within our supply chain, Restaurant Brands International is proud to be a founding member of the CDP Supply Chain – Forests program. Through this program, we are working toward an industry movement to benchmark the management of key forest risk commodities. By asking approved vendors to disclose information through their participation in the CDP survey on these commodities and how they are managing risks related to deforestation, we are taking a meaningful step toward increasing transparency in our own supply chain and the broader business community. Participation by our vendors in this program will allow us to proactively identify opportunities to build and better manage a more resilient supply chain.

During the program’s 2017 pilot year, we were one of eight organizations that worked with the CDP to request information from vendors including strategies for measuring and monitoring the use of key forest commodities in order to benchmark disclosure, activities and opportunities related to reducing deforestation. In 2018, we expanded our engagement efforts by reaching out to a broader group of suppliers, representing about 80% of our global spend in our priority commodities, including beef, packaging, palm oil and chicken and continued in this regard through the 2020 disclosure cycle.

Guided by our Deforestation Policy, we will continue to work collaboratively within our supply chain, through global roundtables and with other organizations to identify opportunities and solutions in order to move closer towards the elimination of deforestation.

Protecting the Amazon

The Amazon is of crucial importance to the earth’s biodiversity. It’s believed to be home to 10% of the world’s known species1 and many of them are unique to this region. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 20% of the Amazon biome has already been lost and 27% of the biome will be without trees by 2030 if the current rate of deforestation continues2. Increased agriculture, particularly cattle ranching and soy plantations, is putting pressure on this precious ecosystem. As animal proteins represent a significant portion of our supply chain, Restaurant Brands International and the wider food industry have a critical role to play.

Currently, all approved suppliers of beef sourced from Brazil maintain active policies on zero deforestation in the Amazon Biome. Many of such approved suppliers have also shared independent verification of their deforestation free credentials at our request.

1, 2: WWF 2019. https://wwf.panda.org/our_work/forests/deforestation_fronts2/deforestation_in_the_amazon/

Responsible Protein Sourcing

We are a member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), and in 2019 we developed our first responsible sourcing target for beef based on GRSB principles. Learn more about beef sustainability and our responsible sourcing approach here.

Responsible Soy and Traceability

Knowing the origin of inputs to our products and being able to trace this through the supply chain is fundamental when it comes to deforestation, in order to attempt to validate that these inputs were not sourced from deforested areas. A key ingredient in animal feed, we recognize soy has high deforestation risk when sourced from certain regions. The lack of and complexity of traceability for soy as animal feed and its link to deforestation is a key concern across the food sector.

Although Restaurant Brands International brands do not directly source the feed for beef or poultry, we are committed to working with approved suppliers who share our goal of eliminating deforestation and advancing solutions that can serve the industry as a whole. In 2019, we joined the Roundtable on Responsible Soy to better understand the latest efforts within the industry on traceability of soy as animal feed and play an active role in challenging suppliers to develop the traceability of soy industry-wide.

Sustainable Palm Oil

Palm oil is another commodity with high deforestation risk when sourced from certain regions, and as such we have prioritized it as a key commodity where we will concentrate our efforts.

We continue to work with our approved suppliers to source palm oil that does not contribute to deforestation nor the development on peatlands, and protects both High Conservation Value and High Carbon Stock areas, and have set specific targets for sourcing sustainable palm oil.

In 2020:

  • Palm oil directly sourced as well as palm oil and palm kernel oil used as an ingredient in our approved branded food products supports the production of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) sustainable palm oil products.
  • 100% of palm oil volumes within the scope of our sourcing policy are covered by RSPO certification or credits, supporting sustainable palm oil production.
  • 78% of palm oil volumes within the scope of our Palm Oil Sourcing Policy was RSPO certified Mass Balance or better

Approved palm oil suppliers are required to be members of RSPO and to have a transition plan in place aligned to this commitment.

Fiber-Based Packaging

Burger King and Tim Hortons require vendors to source fiber-based packaging from certified or recycled sources, globally. Popeyes is working towards implementing this requirement globally by 2021.

In Canada and the United States, all Burger King and Tim Hortons fiber-based packaging vendors are required to source board and/or paper from paper mills certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Forest Stewardship Council, or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, ensuring that the fiber-based packaging we use in our restaurants is sourced from certified sustainably-managed forests.

Learn more about other sustainable sourcing in our supply chain: