It's National Doughnut Day, and if you're lucky you've grabbed a free treat from one of the many national chains offering free doughnuts today.
We all love doughnuts, and I certainly don't want to be a buzzkill on an otherwise joyous celebration of America's favourite treat, but National Doughnut Day is also a good opportunity to focus on a not-so-sweet aspect of these sugary blobs of deliciousness.
I'm talking about palm oil, which the doughnut industry uses in vast volumes. It's also the crop directly responsible for the rampant deforestation in places like Indonesia and Malaysia, which is laying waste to the habitats of the last 400 Sumatran tigers and endangered orangutans.
Palm oil is the second ingredient listed for many doughnuts, right after flour. And while palm oil is in hundreds of products on North American shelves, consumers rarely come face to face (or hand to mouth) with it like they do when buying doughnuts from stores like Krispy Kreme, Tim Hortons, and Dunkin' Donuts.
Palm oil is used to fry the doughnuts, so when you wipe your hands after eating a Boston Creme or glazed crueller, that's palm oil you see on the greasy napkin.
Unfortunately, about half of all the palm oil produced in the world comes from incredibly destructive practices. Palm oil suppliers like Cargill, IOI Loders Croklann, and Bunge sell palm oil grown in plantations that have been grown by cutting down rainforests, destroying carbon-rich peatlands, and even exploiting local communities.
When Krispy Kreme, Tim Hortons, and Dunkin' Donuts buy from these suppliers, they become part of the destruction.
Today, Forest Heroes and SumOfUs are releasing a report, Deforestation Doughnuts, that shows just how bad the doughnut industry is for the Sumatran tigers, orangutans, and forest peoples.
It's easy to find better palm oil. As of this year, over half the palm oil produced in the world will be covered by strict "No Deforestation, No Peat, and No Exploitation" policies. It would be easy for Krispy Kreme and others in the industry to buy responsible palm oil