McDonald's sets measurable sustainability goals

McDonald's sets measurable sustainability goals

McDonald's takes sustainability efforts to next level by setting specific targets in three key areas.

TAKING its corporate sustainability journey to the next level, McDonald's Corp. recently announced that, going forward, it will be placing more of an emphasis on specific, measurable sustainability improvements.

In its latest corporate sustainability report, the fast-food chain set forth a framework of aspirational goals that it will strive to achieve by 2020. Previously released sustainability reports from the company set objectives and goals but did not set such specific targets for achievement.

The five key areas of the framework include: food, sourcing, planet, people and community. These were selected because they are central to McDonald's commitment to create shared value for its business and society, J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, McDonald's senior vice president of global corporate social responsibility, sustainability and philanthropy, noted in the report.

Gonzalez-Mendez said the goals are meant to focus McDonald's on social and environmental business imperatives aimed at shaping the company's future and growing its brand.

Of the five key areas, the company has set measurable goals for three areas:

1. For food, McDonald's has set a 2020 goal of serving 100% more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy or whole grains in nine of its top markets: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. The company also plans to develop goals in 2015 for the nine markets to reduce salt/sodium, sugar, saturated fat or calories across the menu by 2020.

"This notion of 'good' has always been an important part of our heritage, and it's an equally important part of our future. We are committed to working toward a tomorrow where quality food and balanced choices are accessible and affordable to all, where the food we serve is sustainably sourced from thriving farms, where environmental protection and efficiency are universal, where people from all walks of life are valued for their unique contributions to a shared global community and where every restaurant is more than an address on a map; it's part of the local neighborhood," McDonald's president and chief executive officer Don Thompson said.

2. For sourcing, McDonald's said it will lead development of global principles and criteria in 2014 to support sustainable production of beef, with plans to develop goals and begin purchasing verified sustainable beef by 2016.

Also by 2020, the company plans to have 100% of its coffee, palm oil and fish verified as supporting sustainable production and 100% of its fiber-based packaging from certified or recycled sources.

"I am so excited about our strategy because I believe we have a real opportunity to mainstream sustainable beef globally," said Francesca Debiase, McDonald's vice president of strategic sourcing, worldwide supply chain management. "Our goal is to be a leader in this area and to be the first in our industry to purchase externally verified sustainable beef around the world, but we cannot do this alone. Our partnership with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef — as well as our work with beef suppliers and farmers — will ensure that what we develop can be practically realized at the farm level."

3. For the planet, McDonald's has targeted a 20% increase in energy efficiency of company-owned restaurants in seven of its top nine markets (excluding Brazil and Japan) by 2020, with plans to develop franchisee goals in 2016.

McDonald's also said it will begin developing goals this year to increase energy efficiency through restaurant standards in its top nine markets and, by 2020, plans to increase the amount of in-restaurant recycling to 50% as well as minimize waste.

McDonald's said in the report it can't guarantee that it will achieve the stated aspirational goals by 2020 but emphasized that it is committed "to putting forth good-faith efforts to make progress toward these goals, to report on an annual basis tangible progress and measurements, where possible, and to explain both successes and challenges along this journey."

For the full report, visit

Volume:86 Issue:22

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