What we’re doing to takeClimate Action

Climate change is the biggest environmental issue of our time, affecting McDonald’s customers, employees and everything from our supply chain to the thousands of communities around the world in which we operate.

Why climate action matters

If society and industry continue business as usual, climate change will have serious consequences for our planet, its people today, and for generations to come – from melting ice caps and forest fires to shifting weather patterns that impact the way food is produced.

McDonald’s is taking action. When you operate 37,000 restaurants in 120 markets around the world, serving 69 million people each day, every change makes a big difference.

 

On this page:

Our approach | Our actions | Our goals and progress

 

Our approach

 

We’re committed to building a better McDonald’s and that includes using our scale to help address this defining issue for current and future generations. In March 2018, we became the first restaurant company in the world to address global climate change by setting a Science Based Target to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

The Company will partner with Franchisees to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 36% by 2030 from a 2015 base year. Through collaboration and partnership with our suppliers and producers, the Company also commits to a 31% reduction in emissions intensity (per metric ton of food and packaging) across our supply chain by 2030 from 2015 levels. This combined target has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

 

 

Steve Easterbrook, President and CEO, McDonald’s

“To create a better future for our planet, we must all get involved. McDonald’s is doing its part by setting this ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address the challenge of global climate change. To meet this goal, we will source our food responsibly, promote renewable energy and use it efficiently, and reduce waste and increase recycling.”

Steve Easterbrook, President and CEO, McDonald’s

 

Through actions we take to meet our targets across our supply chain and in company and franchised restaurants, we expect to prevent 150 million metric tons of C02 equivalents (CO2e) from being released into the atmosphere by 2030. This is the equivalent of taking 32 million passenger cars off the road for an entire year or planting 3.8 billion trees and growing them for 10 years. The target will enable McDonald’s to grow as a business without growing its emissions.

 

To reach its target, the Company will work across its supply chain, offices and restaurants to be more innovative and efficient through improvements such as LED lighting, energy efficient kitchen equipment, sustainable packaging, restaurant recycling, and by elevating and supporting sustainable agriculture practices. In collaboration with thousands of Franchisees, suppliers and producers, we will prioritize action on the largest segments of its carbon footprint: beef production, restaurant energy usage and sourcing, packaging and waste. These segments combined, account for approximately 64% of McDonald’s global emissions.

 

Beyond beef and fiber, the whole McDonald’s supply chain is a critical part of our climate work. All supplier contributions are meaningful and will help to drive significant reductions for our 2030 target. To read more about our approach to driving innovation and improvements in responsible sourcing, click here.

 

While we have made progress in restaurants and in our supply chain, with our new target we are taking bigger and bolder actions to lessen our impact moving forward. We know that we can’t fight climate change alone, so we’re partnering with our suppliers, Franchisees, industry, governments, non-governmental organizations and others to take action.

 

 

Our climate change work supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a global agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, specifically:

Read more about our work to support the goals.

 

Our actions

 

While the most recent step in our climate strategy of setting Science-based targets is an important milestone to drive meaningful change at scale, the Company’s work to take care of the planet spans almost three decades:

  • The Company first began its focus on sustainable packaging nearly 25 years ago with the establishment of a groundbreaking partnership with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The initiative eliminated more than 300 million pounds of packaging, recycled 1 million tons of corrugated boxes and reduced waste by 30 percent in the decade following the partnership.
  • In 2015, we put forth our White House American Business Act on Climate Change Pledge, which outlined commitments that help address climate change through specific actions on issues such as deforestation, beef production and energy used in McDonald’s restaurants. This is supported by McDonald’s Energy and Climate Position Statement from 2014, which set out our view on taking effective, collaborative action to tackle climate change.
  • Also in 2015, the Company developed our Commitment on Forests which addresses our supply chain impacts on deforestation, focused on verifying and promoting responsible production practices in regions most at risk. This commitment strengthened the foundation of the company’s climate strategy as deforestation accounts for an estimated 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. We are making progress in our sourcing of beef, soy, palm oil, coffee and fiber. Read more here.

We’re one of the world’s biggest buyers of beef, so – although we don’t own farms or rear animals directly – it’s no surprise that we take seriously our responsibility to help lead the industry toward more sustainable production practices. We support beef production that’s environmentally sound, protects animal health and welfare, and improves farmer and community livelihoods, and we have done for over a decade. This global movement is gaining extensive momentum through conversations, collaborations, pilot programs, and global and local roundtables, and is helping influence not just beef in McDonald’s supply chain, but beef production around the world. Read more here.

 

Cows in a Field

 

Beef Sustainability

We’re working with farmers, ranchers, our beef suppliers, and industry leaders to identify, magnify and share best practices on farming, grazing, and conservation, in ways that empower more producers to adopt those practices.

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McDonald's with a modern design

 

Smart Restaurant Design

Together with our Franchisees, we’re continuing to tackle restaurant energy usage and sourcing through innovations and programs to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. This includes equipment and building design innovation, energy monitoring, and crew training programs which could provide long-term cost savings.

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A piggyback in the forest

 

Packaging and Recycling

By 2025, 100 percent of McDonald’s guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled, or certified sources. Also by 2025, the Company has set a goal to recycle guest packaging in 100 percent of McDonald’s restaurants. We understand that recycling infrastructure, regulations and consumer behaviors vary city to city and country to country, but we plan to be part of the solution and help influence powerful change.

Read More

 

 

Our goals and progress

 

We are committed to being transparent. We will share updates about our journey, both progress and challenges, and report milestones against our goals and our carbon footprint annually. The Company currently reports annually into CDP Climate Change and plans to continue as we work toward this target.

We currently have several measurement systems in place regionally, such as our European energy and carbon tracking system, CAP’2ER, a French carbon footprint tool for beef farms developed by McDonald’s France, MoyPark Beef and the National Breeding Institute which has become the official tool of the European “Beef Carbon” program (Cop21), our tool to measure progress against our 2020 beef sustainability goals, and our collection of supplier data via CDP Supply Chain. We will be expanding on this work to measure and report progress in greater detail across the globe going forward.

You can find further details of our restaurant energy usage and emissions on our Progress and Performance page.