McDonald's unveils ambitious global sustainability strategy

McDonald's has launched its first ever international sustainability framework, containing an array of environmental targets, as part of the fast food firm's annual sustainability report, released today (1 May).

McDonald's is looking to increase the energy efficiency of its restaurants by 20% in seven of its top markets

McDonald's is looking to increase the energy efficiency of its restaurants by 20% in seven of its top markets

The 2012-2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Report takes the theme of 'Our Journey together. For Good.' It begins by highlighting some of the key initiatives McDonald's has been undertaking to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. (Scroll down for full report).

In 2012-2013, McDonald's sourced 100% of whitefish from fisheries that have been verified as 'sustainable', the report says. The company also installed over 300,000 pieces of more-energy-efficient kitchen and building equipment across all of its outlets since 2010.

Writing in the foreword of the report, McDonald's chief executive and president Don Thompson said: "This report - and the framework we are launching with it - reflect the progress we are making toward this vision for the future, and our plans as we continue to look forward.

"Our work across the broad spectrum of sustainability - from well-being to energy efficiency and animal health - reflects our understanding that sustainability in McDonald's restaurants and in our supply chain drives growth, creates jobs, and fuels economies."

Further down the report, McDonald's announced its first Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability Framework designed to position the company for the future by setting a series of 'aspirational goals'.

McDonald's 2020 CSR & Sustainability Framework: Aspirational goals

    • Increasing in-restaurant recycling to 50% and minimising waste in nine of its top markets. 
    • Increasing energy efficiency in company-owned restaurants by 20% in seven of its top markets. 
    • Supporting sustainable beef production by collaborating to develop global principles and criteria, and committing to begin purchasing a portion of beef from verified sustainable sources in 2016. 
    • Sourcing 100% of coffee, palm oil and fish that is verified to support sustainable production. 
    • Procuring 100% of fibre-based packaging from certified or recycled sources. 

J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, senior vice president of McDonald's global corporate social responsibility, sustainability and philanthropy, said: "We've worked diligently to develop this CSR & Sustainability Framework focused on five key areas - Food, Sourcing, Planet, People, and Community. These pillars are central to our commitment to create shared value for our business and society.

"In the course of developing this blueprint for our work in the area of CSR & Sustainability we've methodically developed distinct, forward-looking goals. These goals will serve to focus us on a long-term view of the social and environmental business imperatives that will help shape our future. McDonald's is working System-wide to meet or exceed these goals.

"As we look to the future, it's important to note that there will be related challenges associated with achieving these goals. With this in mind, implementing robust data collection, reporting and infrastructure enhancements will be critical to our success. We have begun to enact changes that will help us address these priority areas and foster continued focus on developing policies, programs and tactics that will help us meet these goals."

Sustainable steps

Assessing today's report and the announcement of the new Framework, Suzanne Apple, senior vice president of private sector engagement at the WWF, said: "McDonald's is a company with the power to help transform the global food marketplace and to lead its industry towards sustainability.

"While this is a journey and requires a long-term vision, these sustainability goals are a great step forward in addressing issues that are key to McDonald's business and value chain."

McDonald's 2012-2013 Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability Report

Luke Nicholls


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