In the U.S., the Company is working to advance beef sustainability through industry engagement, collaboration with ranchers and the full value chain, support for scientific inquiry and recognition of ranchers leading on sustainability.
McDonald’s U.S. was a founding member of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) and has served on the Roundtable’s Board of Directors since its inception. The USRSB has been working on developing metrics for beef sustainability for each sector in the U.S. beef value chain. A summary of the first draft of the USRSB metrics was published in November 2017, and an official public comment period to collect feedback on the metrics will launch in the spring of 2018 with the publication of Sustainability Assessment Guides supporting each metric.
Working with the Noble Research Institute, the Integrity Beef Alliance, the Beef Marketing Group, Tyson Foods and Golden State Foods – all USRSB members – the Integrity Beef Sustainability Pilot will test the draft USRSB metrics for beef sustainability throughout the full beef value chain and provide farmer-tested input and feedback to the USRSB on the metrics. In doing so, the project will incorporate sustainability metrics into established producer engagement programs (Integrity Beef and Progressive Beef) to develop replicable and scalable models for advancing beef sustainability across the country.
In support of the Company’s commitment to trial and discover new practices related to our priority impact areas, we have identified innovative grazing practices and soil health as potential levers to amplify our positive impacts. To this end, McDonald’s U.S. and our Franchisees have committed a $4.5 million matching grant to support scientific research to evaluate and quantify the extent to which Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing can remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in soil while also improving farm productivity and natural landscapes. Arizona State University is leading the research team, which includes scientists from Colorado State, Michigan State, New Mexico State and Texas A&M Agrilife Research.
The short film Soil Carbon Cowboys illustrates the basic premises of AMP grazing and features the stories of a few ranchers who are already using these practices.
In 2018, we will begin recognizing and promoting leading ranchers in sustainability by selecting our first Flagship Farmers in the U.S. McDonald’s U.S. and our Franchisees have also committed to a three-year sponsorship of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Environmental Stewardship Awards Program.