KFC, one of the world’s largest quick service restaurant chains, announced a new global sustainability commitment that all plastic-based, consumer-facing packaging will be recoverable or reusable by 2025. The goal supports KFC’s long-term plan to implement a more sustainable packaging strategy in its restaurants—by both developing and using sustainable packaging options—and builds on progress already made in some markets to eliminate plastic packaging items.
“As a global brand that operates more than 22,000 restaurants in over 135 countries, KFC is in a position to have a real impact on how the industry approaches waste and packaging management overall,” said Tony Lowings, CEO of KFC, in a statement. “With environmental sustainability as a core aspect of how we do business, this commitment represents a public acknowledgement of the obligation we have to address these serious issues.”
To meet these goals, KFC has developed a roadmap that includes partnering with major suppliers and franchisees globally to identify plastic alternatives in each market. The restaurant chain is working on several key initiatives related to achieving these goals, including conducting an audit of current systems with franchisees to identify plastic waste reduction opportunities; partnering with suppliers to identify sustainable packaging alternatives for items like straws, plastic bags, cutlery and lids; and setting market-specific goals to reduce, reuse and recycle. KFC will support franchisees to define and implement their own sustainability agenda to address the unique needs of local markets and customers. Markets will also continue to have their own, additional local sustainability goals that vary based on local market conditions and regulations.
Several markets have already announced plans to reduce the use of certain plastics, including KFC Singapore’s intention to stop providing plastic straws and cup lids in its 84 restaurants; KFC Romania’s and France’s common goal to replace all plastic straws with paper; and KFC India’s removal of consumer plastic bags from its restaurants and ongoing transition to sustainable alternatives for plastic cups, bowls, sporks and straws.
In addition to KFC’s new plastics goal and the existing commitment by its parent company Yum! Brands, Inc. to source 100 percent of fiber-based packaging from certified or recycled sources by 2020, KFC has committed to global packaging innovation by signing on as a supporting partner with NextGen Consortium. NextGen is a multiyear, multi-industry global consortium that aims to advance the design, commercialization and recovery of food packaging alternatives. Through this partnership, KFC hopes to identify fiber packaging solutions that are recoverable across global infrastructures.
KFC has a long commitment to driving sustainable initiatives, which includes a commitment publicly announced by KFC U.S. in April 2017 that, by the end of 2018, all chicken purchased by the company would be raised without antibiotics important to human medicine (as defined by the World Health Organization)—a goal the brand successfully achieved. Recognizing the rising public health concerns about the increased threat of resistance to human antibiotics, KFC has advanced this initiative while keeping both customers—and the health of the flocks from which they source—top of mind.