The company will now develop specific deadlines and targets by the end of 2015 for beef, fibre-based packaging, coffee, palm oil, and poultry.

“This commitment to end deforestation demonstrates another major step for McDonald’s as we work to increasingly embed sustainability throughout our global business,” said Francesca DeBiase, senior vice president of McDonald’s worldwide supply chain and sustainability.

“Making this pledge is the right thing to do for our company, the planet and the communities in which our supply chain operates. We’re excited to continue collaborating with our supplier partners to achieve our goals.”


McDonald’s has until recently, been the target of a “McDeforestation” campaign by consumer group SumOfUs. But Tuesday’s announcement was welcomed by green groups, with WWF suggesting that McDonalds’ action could create a ripple effect among smaller companies. 

“This will lead to real conservation impacts on the ground, and we hope that this commitment will inspire other companies to take action,” said WWF’s vice president of sustainable food David McLaughlin.

“This commitment is bolstered by McDonald’s ongoing sustainability work with the beef industry and the company’s participation in WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network. Expanding monitoring and compliance efforts by McDonald’s and their suppliers will be critical to ensuring the success of this important initiative.”

Aida Greenbury, the sustainability managing director of Asia Pulp & Paper, which is also committed to zero deforestation, gave a similar view about the influence of the burger behemoth:

“The most exciting thing about McDonald’s commitment on deforestation is that it will bring major influence on other companies around the world. McDonald’s will certainly face super-sized challenges, but its size and scale adds weight to the issue and demonstrates that zero deforestation is not only feasible, but should be the goal for all companies worldwide.

“As we look towards COP 21, it’s clear that businesses have a major role to play in tackling climate change and focusing on the supply chain’s impact on deforestation is the obvious place to start.”

Earlier in April, Pizza Hut and KFC also commited to reducing deforestation by sourcing 100% sustainable palm oil, after pressure from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Brad Allen

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