Yum! Celebrates the Planet Year-Round, Reflects on Progress During Earth Month

The parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill remains bullish on the environment.
May 9, 2023 10:00 AM ET
Yum! Brands logo on an earthy background

This Earth Month, Yum! reflected back on some recent wins and looking ahead to accomplishing its goals.

For 13 years, Yum! has reported to CDP, a global organization that runs a leading disclosure system with a focus on the planet, and in the company’s most recent CDP disclosures it was awarded an A- in Water Security and a B in all other categories. In 2022, Yum! was named to 3BL Media’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens list and made the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America, marking its sixth consecutive year on the list that ranks companies based on long-term economic, environmental and social criteria. In addition, Yum! was ranked on Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies 2023.

Yum! and its brands are also working on a variety of projects to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which have resulted in a decrease of approximately 20% in franchisee restaurants since 2019. In the U.S., Pizza Hut is doing its part by partnering with the Dairy Farmers of America and suppliers on a joint project to provide participating farmers with a cup that assesses their cows’ feed to efficiently produce dairy with less waste. Taco Bell is building partnerships with electric vehicle charging companies to install charging stations across the U.S. at its restaurants. Meanwhile, the KFC Global development team has been crafting Green Line Furniture, which aims to have a lower impact on the environment and will be incorporated into new restaurants and extensive remodels across multiple markets beginning this year.

Employees are getting involved, too. In California, Taco Bell offered a sustainability-related activity every week in April, including a composting workshop and a tour of their local waste facility. At KFC, the brand’s global division recently hired Nira Johri as its first chief sustainability officer. She will lead KFC’s ESG initiatives, including the implementation of Yum!’s new packaging policy, which places an emphasis on the elimination of unnecessary packaging, a shift to more sustainable materials and support of better recycling systems and reusable products.

Going forward, Yum! will continue its focus on climate and packaging as it marches toward its science-based targets to reduce emissions by nearly 50% by 2030 and have all consumer-facing plastic packaging be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Yum!’s holistic approach to environmental issues also addresses deforestation, sustainable sourcing, water and waste. For example, Yum! endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests and the private-sector goal of eliminating deforestation from the production of agriculture commodities such as palm oil, soy, paper and beef products no later than 2020. In addition, this effort strives to end natural forest loss by 2030. Yum! also has a goal to reduce average restaurant water consumption by 10%, from its 2017 baseline, by the end of 2025.

With the aforementioned initiatives and more to come, Yum! is reinforcing its long-term commitment to the responsible stewardship of the planet in line with its Good Growth strategy.