McDonald’s has been making headlines lately with their sustainable moves, such as bringing out a new vegan burger and making a commitment to fully renewable packaging. On Tuesday, the fast food chain announced they’ll be reducing greenhouse emissions from their restaurants, corporate offices, and supply chain by over 30 percent in the next 12 years. They’re also the first restaurant to have these goals backed by the Science Based Targets initiative.
Working with their franchisees and suppliers, McDonald’s should be able to eliminate 36 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from their restaurants and offices when compared to their 2015 levels. 31 percent will be slashed from their supply chain. In total, the company expects to see 150 million metric tons less of emissions.
In order to achieve these results, the company will be focusing on three major factors in their global emissions: beef production, energy usage, packaging, and restaurant waste. Some easy obstacles will be adding more energy efficient equipment in their kitchens and LED lighting throughout their restaurants.
“McDonald's is doing its part by setting this ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address the challenge of global climate change," Steve Easterbrook, McDonald's CEO, said in a press release. "To meet this goal, we will source our food responsibly, promote renewable energy and use it efficiently, and reduce waste and increase recycling."
A few months ago, McDonald’s already committed to enhancing their sustainable program by making all of their restaurants and products fully renewable by 2025. This not only includes their packaging, but restaurant employees taking action as well. Right now, just 10 percent of restaurants are recycling their products.
These goals have been backed by the Science Based Targets initiative, which helps companies develop a plan that they can commit to. Even though over 90 percent of McDonald’s restaurants are run independently, they will be working with their franchisees to reach their targets. Should they accomplish this by 2030, it would be the equivalent of removing 32 million cars for a year or growing four billion trees over 10 years.
"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,” Andrew Steer, president World Resource Institute (WRI) said in a press release. “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.”
It’s impressive to see one of the world’s biggest fast food chains being this committed to sustainability. They’ve also worked on removing deforestation from their supply chain six years ago, and their new vegan burger will help in that process should that continue to be released around the world.
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