It's National Doughnut Day -- but the big chains are still destroying rainforests

leaning tower of doughnuts
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Join the Forest Heroes campaign to call on these companies to stop driving deforestation before it's too late!

Today is National Doughnut Day, and many stores across North America will celebrate by handing out free doughnuts to customers. It sounds like a sweet deal, but it’s actually not. Doughnuts may be delicious, but they’re terribly destructive to the environment.

You know the grease that oozes out of a doughnut when you take a bite? That is palm oil – one of the few times that you'll see palm oil in its pure form, though it's in 50 percent of items at the supermarket. Palm oil is grown on tropical plantations that are made by cutting down rainforests and destroying carbon-rich peat lands, sometimes using child or slave labour. These plantations ruin orangutan habits in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea, and are pushing Sumatran tigers to the verge of extinction; currently there are only 400 left. Some plantations have pushed indigenous people off the land to make room for oil palms.

Has the thought of that free doughnut suddenly become less appetizing?

Palm-driven deforestation has catastrophic effects on the environment, releasing massive amounts of carbon pollution. Indonesia is one of the top carbon emitters, thanks to deforestation. According to the Deforestation Doughnuts report, one group of researchers at Stanford and Yale found that emissions just from expansion of Indonesia's palm oil industry on the island of Borneo alone could top 558 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2020 -- more than all of Canada's fossil fuel emissions.

While some fast food companies have promised to source deforestation- and exploitation-free palm oil, other major companies have not. The top three biggest doughnut companies have failed to make any valuable commitments. They continue to buy vast quantities of questionably sourced palm oil from suppliers that are linked to deforestation.

Even when companies do make promises, they’re usually not good enough. Dunkin’ Donuts says it will source palm oil that’s certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) by 2020, but who knows if there will be any Sumatran tigers left by then? The RSPO also has a “notoriously weak standard, with major loopholes that still allow for deforestation… and insufficient mechanisms for enforcement.”

As Deborah Lapidus, director of the Forest Heroes campaign, says, “These companies need to do better than a business model that destroys rainforests to get dollars for doughnuts.”

The good news is, you can take action today! Join the Forest Heroes campaign to pressure Krispy Kreme – the laggard of the big three – to stop driving deforestation. Sign the online petition and let your voice be heard.

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