The Company prioritizes its sustainable sourcing work based on product impact and influence. That is, we focus on the products that carry the greatest impacts--such as biodiversity loss or deforestation--and where we have the most influence to create positive change. In 2010, World Wildlife Fund helped the Company define sustainable sourcing priority areas, and we continue to work with them to evaluate progress and opportunities for improvement. Much of the Company’s work toward a sustainable supply chain is also connected to our Planet Pillar priorities and aspirational goals. In an effort to reduce impacts across the entire McDonald’s value chain, the Company is engaging suppliers, employees and even customers on this shared journey.
When the Company established its Global Sustainability Framework in 2014, we set aspirational sourcing goals for five of our six priority products — beef, packaging, fish, coffee and palm oil. Since then, we have made good progress on many fronts, while continuing to address some challenges.
The Company is working with suppliers, industry groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop a common set of guiding principles and best practices for sustainable poultry — poultry being our sixth priority product. We plan to finalize these global principles in 2016.
MILESTONES IN BEEF SUSTAINABILITY
Beef: Support Sustainable Production
Lead development of global principles and criteria in 2014. (goal achieved)
Begin purchasing verified sustainable beef during 2016. (goal achieved)
Develop targets for purchasing verified sustainable beef.
The Company helped found the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) to bring together key players in the beef value chain around a common purpose to help ensure that all aspects of the beef value chain are environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable. In 2014, the GRSB finalized a global set of principles and criteria, marking a major milestone in our journey to sustainable beef and meeting the Company’s first beef goal. At the first annual Global Conference on Sustainable Beef, held in 2014, more than 96% of the membership voted to approve these principles and criteria. We met our commitment, established in 2014, to begin purchasing sustainable beef. In 2016, we purchased a portion of beef from a fully verified sustainable supply chain in Canada through a pilot program, followed by Arcos Dorados, McDonald's Developmental Licensee in Brazil sourcing beef through the Novo Campo program during the Rio Olympics.
As a part of our broader commitment, we have launched a new set of ambitious goals for 2020:
By the end of 2020 in each of our top 10 beef sourcing countries, which collectively represent more than 85% of our global beef volumes, we will:
US, Australia, Germany, Brazil, Ireland, Canada, France, NZ, UK, Poland
ACCELERATE INDUSTRY PROGRESS - Source a portion of our beef from suppliers participating in sustainability programs aligned with the GRSB principles and criteria, and that meet McDonald’s requirements* for each applicable market.
SHARE KNOWLEDGE AND TOOLS – Engage with local farmers through farmer outreach projects to help develop and share best practices related to our Priority Impact Areas.
PROMOTE FLAGSHIP FARMERS – Select and showcase McDonald’s Flagship Farmers to demonstrate leading best practices related to our Priority Impact Areas.
PIONEER NEW PRACTICES - Set up McDonald’s Progressive Farm Partnerships to trial and discover new practices related to our Priority Impact Areas.
PRESERVE FORESTS – In regions with identified risks relating to the preservation of forests, verify that the beef sourced from those regions comes from farms where primary forests and high conservation value lands are preserved. Read more about our Commitment on Forests.
* McDonald’s program requirements include transparency, credible verification and measured performance against clearly identified impact areas.
We aim to set specific country-based ambitious beef sustainability targets in these 10 countries.
100% of fiber-based packaging from certified or recycled sources by 2020.
In May of this year, we published the first in a series of issue-specific updates related to key issues of importance to our business and society. The first publication focuses on our progress against our 2020 aspirational goal to source 100% of our fiber-based packaging from certified or recycled sources. The report also provides an overview of our sustainable packaging strategy, advancements toward achieving zero deforestation in our fiber packaging supply chain and how we are working collaboratively to advance progress across the industry. Download the Report here.
In 2015, we doubled the percent of certified or recycled packaging content for consumer fiber-based packaging, getting us more than half way to our goal: 53% certified or recycled (up from 23% in 2014)
Most of the fry boxes, sandwich “clamshells,” wrappers, cups and other items that help to keep McDonald’s food ready to eat are made of fiber-that is, paper or cardboard. The Company and its suppliers have made positive gains in several areas toward our 2020 aspirational goal.
1 Based on fiber-based consumer facing packaging for all McDonald’s restaurants globally. Packaging categories included without limitation are the following: hot cups, cold cups, carry out bags, folding cartons, clamshells, wraps, food service bags, napkins, salad bowls, Happy Meal containers, drink carriers. Packaging metrics do not include operational supplies or pre-filled food packaging (e.g., sauce packets, salad dressings).
2 Methodology for calculating metric was modified in 2012 to be in line with other fiber certification standards by requiring chain of custody documentation.
McDonald’s priority is to optimize the amount of packaging we use, and to use only sustainably sourced materials that are recyclable or compostable. In collaboration with our suppliers, we pursue these priorities in three critical areas:
Design - Optimize weight and simplify the number of materials used in our packaging
Sourcing - Increase use of recycled or certified raw materials
Recovery - Work to use recoverable packaging with viable end-of-life options
In 2015, McDonald’s announced a global Commitment on Forests across the Company’s expansive global supply chain. The Commitment builds upon McDonald’s Global Sustainability Framework and longstanding leadership in the area of sustainable sourcing. The commitment encompasses the entire supply chain and focuses on priority products, for which the Company is developing specific time-bound sourcing targets. These include: beef, fiber-based packaging, coffee, palm oil, and poultry. Learn more.
100% of coffee verified as supporting sustainable production by 2020.
McDonald’s is committed to serving coffee and espresso drinks brewed from responsibly sourced, high-quality coffee beans and invests in farmer training that supports ethical, environmentally responsible and economically viable production in coffee-growing communities.
The second in our series of updates features key elements of our sustainable coffee sourcing efforts. The Coffee Sustainability Report shares progress toward our 2020 aspirational goal, introduces our new McCafé Sustainability Improvement Platform (SIP), highlights our participation in Conservation International’s Sustainable Coffee Challenge and shares on-the-ground success stories. Download the report here to learn more!
In 2015, we made steady progress toward our goal, with the overall percentage of verified sustainable coffee globally rising to 37%. This progress follows significant accomplishments in several of our markets. For example, 100% of the espresso coffee we serve in the United States and Canada and 100% of all coffee sold in McDonald's restaurants in Brazil come from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms. Similarly, McDonald's European1 markets, Australia and New Zealand already source 100% of their coffee (except decaf in Europe) from farms that are either Rainforest Alliance Certified™, UTZ Certified or Fairtrade International Certified.
In 2015, we started selling coffee in retail in the U.S. as well, and we plan to begin including volumes from retail sales in our future reporting efforts.
1 Excludes Morocco, which McDonald’s considers part of its geographic segment in Europe.
100% of palm oil used for restaurant cooking or by McDonald's suppliers to par-fry chicken and potato products will be RSPO-certified sustainable or covered by GreenPalm Book and Claim certificates by 2015.
100% of all palm oil or palm kernel oil used as an ingredient by McDonald's suppliers for use in McDonald's products will be RSPO-certified sustainable or covered by GreenPalm Book and Claim certificates by 2020.
In 2015, the Company nearly achieved its goal of having 100% of palm oil used for restaurant cooking or by McDonald’s suppliers to par-fry chicken and potato products be RSPO-certified sustainable or covered by GreenPalm Book and Claim certificates, achieving a percentage of 99.7*.
Looking forward to 2020 and the longer-term aspirational goal we have established on this important issue, we see an opportunity to re-evaluate our approach. We’ve heard from expert stakeholders that our palm oil goals and strategy can be made stronger. We agree. We are committed to taking a holistic approach that will serve both the Company and the industry as a whole.
To this end, the Company will continue encouraging McDonald’s suppliers to move toward full traceability to their plantations and mills as a way to ensure no deforestation and deep peat development.
We began our journey toward sustainable fish in 2001, working with Conservation International to identify ways we could help protect long-term fish supplies and improve the health of surrounding marine ecosystems. As a result, McDonald’s sustainable fisheries standards have guided fish purchases since 2001. Since then, McDonald’s global Sustainable Fisheries Program has grown to include purchasing standards, annual third-party assessments of all our fish suppliers and the purchase of whitefish from sustainable fisheries. Globally, 100% of the whitefish for our Filet-O-Fish is sourced from sustainably managed fisheries, and we have achieved MSC certification in North America, Europe and Brazil.
Because there are many perspectives regarding principles and standards for sustainable chicken products, we are working with its suppliers, industry groups and NGOs to define chicken sustainability for McDonald's restaurants, starting with antibiotics, animal health and welfare and feed sustainability. In 2016 we established a cross-functional team to advance our progress in this area.
Significant progress is being made in Europe, where McDonald's has established a 2020 target for suppliers to the McDonald's System to purchase only sustainably certified soy, a major component of poultry feed. In 2015, approximately 35% of the soy used for chicken feed for McDonald's restaurants in Europe was covered by a combination of ProTerra and Roundtable for Responsible Soy certification. Both certifications ensure adherence to globally recognized standards for responsible soy production.
Since 2006, McDonald's has played a leading role in supporting the establishment and continuation of the Soy Moratorium, a voluntary agreement between retailers, NGOs and major soybean traders to not purchase soy grown on land within the Amazon deforested after 2008. The Moratorium has been widely recognized for its success in dramatically reducing the expansion of soy production areas within the Brazilian Amazon. In 2015, McDonald's, together with Greenpeace and Cargill, was recognized by the Keystone Policy Center Award for Leadership in Environment for our collective effort contribution to this effort.
Antibiotic resistance is also an important issue for people and animals. McDonald's has maintained a policy on antibiotic use in food animals since 2003. In 2017, we released an update to our Global Vision for Antibiotic Stewardship in Food Animals (VAS), which seeks to preserve antibiotic effectiveness in the future through ethical practices today. As a framework for antibiotic stewardship, the VAS seeks animal production practices that reduce, and where possible eliminates the need for antibiotic therapies in food animals, by adopting existing best practices and/or new practices. For more information on antibiotics, please visit our Statement on Antibiotic Use.