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McDonald’s Becomes the First Restaurant Company

March 20, 2018

Company Expected to Prevent 150 Million Metric Tons of Emissions by 2030

Building on the momentum of existing programs on forests, agriculture and energy efficiency, McDonald’s and its partners will continue to identify practical solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bring them to scale. In its commitment to transparency, McDonald’s will expand its measurement systems, and annually communicate about progress, challenges and milestones.

“Environmental progress doesn’t just happen, it takes bold leadership from all of us,” said Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund. “As one of the best known brands on the planet, McDonald’s is well positioned to lead, and its ambitious new climate target will inspire innovation, collaboration, and most importantly critical greenhouse gas reductions across the company’s global operations and supply chain.”   

McDonald’s work to care for the planet and communities spans nearly three decades, including the establishment of a groundbreaking partnership with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on packaging and waste reduction. More recently, in 2014, McDonald’s released an Energy and Climate Position Statement, establishing the company’s view on taking effective, collaborative action to tackle climate change. Additionally, in 2015, McDonald’s developed a Commitment on Forests that addresses supply chain impacts on deforestation. This strengthened the foundation of the company’s climate strategy as deforestation accounts for an estimated 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

“McDonald's footprint touches all parts of the world. Their announcement matters because it commits one of the world’s biggest companies to deliver, with the full breadth of their food chain system, significant emissions reductions based on science. It also coincides with their decision to join the We Are Still In coalition with thousands of other companies across the US,” said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the United States. “While private-sector actions can’t entirely solve the climate crisis facing our planet, significant announcements like these, and coalitions like these working on climate together, create momentum and movement toward the scale of solutions that we ultimately need.

The launch of this science based target is the latest step in McDonald’s journey to drive meaningful change and use its Scale for Good.

“McDonald’s is delivering a strong statement by becoming the first restaurant company to set a science-based greenhouse gas emissions target. McDonald’s leaders understand that you don’t have to grow emissions to grow as a company,” said Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resource Institute, one of the Science Based Targets initiative partners. “By working with suppliers to design and scale more sustainable farming practices and reducing waste, McDonald’s will chart a path that is better for its franchise, customers and the environment. WRI urges McDonald’s to look for additional opportunities to align their business model and value chain with the realities of a resource-constrained world. We stand ready to support the company in pursuing strategies that lead to healthier consumers and a more sustainable planet.”

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a collaboration between World Resource Institute (WRI), WWF, CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) and the United Nations Global Compact, which helps companies determine how much they must cut emissions to do their part to address climate change, proportionate to their size.

Building on years of engagement with the beef industry, McDonald’s released its 2020 goals for beef sustainability in 2017. These laid out the next steps for collaboration with beef producers and industry partners to proactively identify, share and scale beef production’s most sustainable practices. Already in 2018, McDonald’s launched new packaging and recycling goals and strengthened its commitment to support families. 

Additional statement from McDonald’s Canada

Climate change is an important environmental priority for our guests and for us as well. That’s why McDonald’s Canada supports the Science Based Targets announced by McDonald’s Corporation to address the global issue of climate change. 

We are currently working with our franchisees and supply chain partners to develop plans to address the largest segments of our carbon footprint to understand how we can prioritize action. However, we have already made progress in the Canadian market. For example:

  • Between 2014 and 2016, McDonald’s conducted the first ever beef sustainability pilot in Canada based on the principles and criteria of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). The program verified key sustainability outcomes across all aspects of beef production, including well-managed grazing systems and the protection of waterways. The pilot demonstrated industry leadership and positively influenced the wider beef industry in Canada. 
  • Together with our franchisees, we have improved restaurant energy efficiency through innovations and programs. And, we’ll continue to implement energy reduction measures such as LED lighting, Low Oil Volume Fryers and installation of high efficiency technologies. We will also be evaluating opportunities around renewable energy sources.  

About McDonald’s

McDonald’s is the world’s leading global foodservice retailer with over 37,000 locations in 120 markets around the world. Over 90 percent of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business men and women.

For inquiries related to the global announcement, please contact:
Terri Hickey

For questions related specifically to McDonald’s Canada, please contact:
Kristen Hunter