McDonald's announces global commitment on deforestation

Comprehensive plan addresses all products; reaffirms sustainable sourcing priorities.

McDonald's announced April 21 a global commitment on deforestation across the company's expansive global supply chain.

The commitment builds upon McDonald's Global Sustainability Framework and longstanding leadership in the area of sustainable sourcing.

According to the announcement, the pledge encompasses all of the company's products and focuses on beef, fiber-based packaging, coffee, palm oil and poultry — for which the company will begin developing specific time-bound sourcing targets in 2015.

McDonald's will continue working collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders, including suppliers, governments and non-governmental organization partners, to develop long-term solutions designed to combat deforestation around the world.

"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 & 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 commitment also aligns with the company's endorsement of the "New York Declaration on Forests," a call for global companies and organizations to "do their part" in an effort to end natural forest loss by 2030.

According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), deforestation creates far-reaching challenges and implications for future generations due to loss of biodiversity and contributions to climate change, and accounts for 15-20% of global greenhouse gas emissions — underscoring the urgent need to address the issue. WWF helped advise McDonald's on the deforestation commitment.

"We commend McDonald's plans to combat deforestation across their full range of commodities. This will lead to real conservation impacts on the ground, and we hope that this commitment will inspire other companies to take action," said David McLaughlin, WWF's vice president of sustainable food. "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."

Applying throughout the entire supply chain, the core principles and practices of McDonald's Commitment on Deforestation include:

* No deforestation of primary forests or areas of high conservation value;

* No development of high carbon stock forest areas;

* No development on peatlands, regardless of depth, and the utilization of best management practices for existing commodity production on peatlands;

* Respect human rights;

* Respect the right of all affected communities to give or withhold their free, prior and informed consent for plantation developments on land they own legally, communally or by custom;

* Resolve land rights disputes through a balanced and transparent dispute resolution process;

* Verify origin of raw material production, and

* Support smallholders, farmers, plantation owners and suppliers to comply with this commitment.

To view McDonald's full commitment and supporting information, visit: http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/mcd/sustainability/sourcing/commitment-on-deforestation.html.

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