Responsible Sourcing

fishermen holding a fishing net

Progress Highlights

We are incredibly proud that we have substantially achieved1 every one of our 2020 responsible sourcing goals related to sustainably sourcing our priority commodities. These are some of the world’s most in-demand ingredients, requiring intensive agriculture to feed the world. It's imperative that they are produced with sustainability as the priority. Despite the complexity of our global supply chains that is just what McDonald’s has done and with the scale of our operations, this means our work is already helping to have a positive impact around the world. Below are just some of the highlights from this work:

Substantially achieved1 responsible sourcing goals for our six priority products: beef, chicken (soy for feed), coffee, palm oil, fish and fiber-based guest packaging

100% of our soy sourced for chicken feed globally supports the responsible production of soy

98.7% of fish sourced for McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish® came from verified sustainable sources in 2020

99.6% of our primary fiber-based guest packaging was sourced from recycled or certified sources in 2020 and supported deforestation-free supply chains

 

Please see our performance section and footnotes below for additional detail on goals and thresholds for achievement.  

Learn about our progress on our 2020 Responsible sourcing goals video:

Why It Matters

 

Our customers’ expectations continue to evolve, and we’re evolving with them, putting even more focus on our food – where it comes from, what goes into it and how it’s prepared.

McDonald’s partners with a global network of suppliers and farmers to provide quality ingredients and packaging materials. By engaging our supply chain, we have greater visibility and can support more sustainable production, so we can continue to serve our customers the delicious meals they know and love.

farm worker holding lettuce

Our Strategy

 

We approach responsible sourcing holistically, considering our impact on the planet, the livelihoods of the people who produce our food, the communities in which they live and the well-being of the animals we rely on.

We want to ensure that our sustainable sourcing programs drive lasting, meaningful outcomes on critical issues for people, animals, the environment and our business. This vision inspires our focus on the following priority impact areas:

 

 

We set standards for our sourcing and engage closely with our supply chain to ensure they are upheld. To maintain a transparent, responsible supply chain, we require all our suppliers to comply with the McDonald’s Supplier Code of Conduct (PDF – 1.4 MB), which sets out our values and expectations for human rights, the workplace environment and business integrity.

Our Focus Areas

 

Currently, we focus on six priority products: beef, chicken, coffee, palm oil, fish and fiber-based packaging. These products were identified through independent analysis by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as those that carry the greatest sustainability impacts and where we have the most potential to create positive change.

We have set ambitious goals to guide our responsible sourcing efforts. Learn more about the progress we're making in the Our Performance section below.

 

Beef

 

We’re one of the world’s biggest buyers of beef, so we are serious about our responsibility to help identify and scale the most sustainable practices.

 

In 2014, we released our global commitment to beef sustainability, outlining our strategy to work with beef producers and partners across the value chain to support the broader adoption of sustainability practices within and beyond our supply chain. Our strategy focuses on strengthening farming communities, conserving forests, reducing emissions related to beef production, enhancing soil carbon sequestration, promoting the responsible use of antibiotics, and protecting the health and welfare of animals.

Read more about our approach to responsibly sourced beef on our Sustainable Agriculture & Beef page.
 

 

Chicken (soy for feed)

 

We take a holistic and data-driven approach to sourcing our chicken, with a focus on promoting responsible antibiotic use, improving animal health and welfare, and identifying innovative solutions for feed.

 

In 2018, we brought together an independent global Chicken Sustainability Advisory Council, comprising experts in genetics, leading academics and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to define what sustainably sourced chicken means and to determine what actions should be prioritized.

We’ve been on a journey to enhance our chicken sourcing requirements – from launching our 8 Bold Moves for Broiler Welfare to supporting sustainable soy production designed to take pressure off tropical forests in the longer term. We know there’s more to do and we’re committed to improving the resiliency and the sustainability of our chicken supply chain.

Read more about our approach to responsibly sourced chicken on our Responsible Antibiotics Use, Animal Health & Welfare and Conserving Forests pages.
 

 

Coffee

 

Our ambition is that our customers can walk into a McDonald’s restaurant anywhere in the world and enjoy an affordable, high-quality cup of coffee that is sustainably sourced and supports farming communities.

 

We believe that, by sustainably sourcing coffee, we support the growth of a market that rewards farmers for adopting sound environmental and social practices. Most of our coffee is certified to international sustainability standards through world-leading certification schemes such as Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Fairtrade International and Fair Trade USA. We also source from suppliers that are approved by the McCafé Sustainability Improvement Platform (McCafé SIP) program, established by McDonald’s in partnership with Conservation International and our coffee roasters.

The McCafé SIP framework is our long-term investment for a more sustainable future. It’s how we engage and guide our coffee supply chain in sustainable sourcing, as well as invest in coffee growers and their communities over the long term. Through the framework, McDonald’s roasters leverage their expertise to innovate and advance sustainable farming practices in partnership with farmers. McCafé SIP is currently active in five countries across South and Central America, reaching nearly 6,000 farms as of 20192.

Read more about our approach to responsibly sourced coffee on our Farming Communities, Supply Chain Human Rights and Conserving Forests pages.



Palm Oil

 

All palm oil sourced for McDonald’s restaurants and used as an ingredient3 in McDonald’s products supports sustainable production and deforestation-free supply chains through Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). But there’s still more to do.

 

Palm oil is the basis of livelihoods for millions of farmers and communities. It requires less land than other major oil-producing crops due to its substantially higher oil yield. However, with demand growing, natural forests have been replaced by palm oil plantations, leading to reduced biodiversity, increased carbon dioxide emissions and even the displacement of communities.

We believe that palm oil can and must be sustainable and we will continue to explore high-impact partnerships at local and international levels. It has been a key focus for our responsible sourcing work since 2011 when we joined the RSPO, and we remain committed to reporting on an annual basis to the RSPO Annual Communication on Progress.3

Read more about our approach to responsibly sourced palm oil on our Conserving Forests page.

 

Fish

 

Thriving marine ecosystems are essential for biodiversity, livelihoods, food security and economies. We also depend on them for Filet-o-Fish, one of our much loved menu items.

 

Healthy aquatic ecosystems sustain fish supplies and, as such, are very important to the communities that depend upon them, and to McDonald’s. That is why we’ve worked with partners and independent experts for many years, such as the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), Conservation International and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), to continue identifying ways to improve the health of marine ecosystems.

Over the years, McDonald’s has played an important role in improving the sustainability of the global whitefish sector via the implementation of independently verified criteria around healthy fish stocks, impact of fishing on ecosystems, fisheries’ management and other key actions. We support global efforts to restore depleted fish stocks, improve fishery management and conserve marine environments.

We ask our suppliers to source all the wild-caught fish for McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish from verified sustainable sources.

Additionally, most of the fisheries from which we source are MSC certified. McDonald’s displays the MSC certification logo for our Filet-o-Fish in the U.S., Canada, Brazil and many of our European markets, where fisheries and restaurants are certified against the MSC Chain of Custody traceability standard.4

Learn more about the journey behind a Filet-o-Fish in this video.

Fiber

 

Fiber is the main material in our product packaging. If we are to conserve forests and accelerate climate action, we must also ensure we source fiber from recycled or certified sources and support deforestation-free supply chains.

 

We set a goal to source, all primary fiber-based guest packaging  for McDonald’s restaurants from recycled or certified sources and support deforestation-free supply chains by the end of 2020. This ambition helps to ensure that in switching to more sustainable packaging materials, we’re also actively assessing deforestation risk and taking action to conserve forests.

This target supports our larger goal that by 2025, all of McDonald’s guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources5.

Read more about our approach to responsibly sourcing fiber on our Conserving Forests and Packaging & Waste pages.

 

 

Helping Support the Sustainable Development Goals

Our responsible sourcing achievements help support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a global agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, in particular:

Our Performance

 

Sustainable Sourcing Goals

Goal: Fish

By the end of 2020, all of the wild-caught fish sourced for use in McDonald’s products to come from verified sustainable sources4.

Progress

McDonald’s is one of the largest purchasers of white fish in the world. More than 265 million sustainably sourced, wild-caught Filet-o-Fish sandwiches were served in 2020 and 98.7% of the fish sourced for McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish came from sustainably managed wild-caught fisheries, assessed and verified annually against the McDonald’s Sustainable Fisheries Standard by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. Our Filet-o-Fish sandwiches represent more than 98% of the fish we used by weight in 2020.

Goal: Beef - Accelerate Industry Progress

By the end of 2020, source a portion of our beef from suppliers participating in sustainability programs aligned with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) principles and criteria and that meet McDonald’s requirements in our top 10 beef sourcing countries globally.6

Progress

We sourced beef from sustainability programs aligned with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) principles and criteria and that meet McDonald’s requirements in 10 out of 10 of our top 10 beef sourcing countries by the end of 2020. Read about these initiatives on our Sustainable Agriculture & Beef page.

Goal: Palm Oil

By the end of 2020, all the palm oil sourced for McDonald’s restaurants and used as an ingredient in McDonald’s products will support the production of sustainable palm oil and deforestation-free supply chains.3

Progress

100% of the palm oil used in McDonald’s restaurants and as an ingredient in McDonald’s products supported the production of sustainable palm oil and deforestation-free supply chains in 2020. We estimate this is equal to over 60,000 acres of palm oil production meeting our criteria in 2020, an area larger than 485,000 McDonald’s restaurants side-by-side, which is 12 times the number of actual McDonald’s restaurants globally.

We are committed to increasing traceability for palm oil used in the McDonald’s System. Our palm oil supply has been RSPO-certified since 2017 through either physical certification or credits. In 2020, 78% of our palm oil globally was physically certified (RSPO Indentity Preserved, Segregated and Mass Balance), increasing from 71% in 2019. Additionally, 93% of products using the largest amounts of palm oil in the McDonald’s System (restaurant and parfry oils) were RSPO physically certified.

By RSPO Supply Chain Model:
 

  • 78% Physical RSPO Certified
  • 71% Mass Balance
  • 7% Segregated
  • 0.1% Identity Preserved
  • 22% Book and Claim Credits

 

Learn more about our commitment on the Conserving Forests page.

Goal: Chicken (including soy for feed)

By the end of 2020, all soy sourced for the feed of chicken used in McDonald’s products will support deforestation-free supply chains7.

Progress

100% of soy sourced for the feed of chicken used in McDonald’s products supports deforestation-free supply chains globally. We support responsible soy production through the purchase of RTRS credits. A number of our chicken suppliers to Europe also use physical certification through Proterra standards. In 2020, in relation to the soy for the feed of chicken used in McDonald’s products in Europe, McDonald’s assessed that 17% of the volume was linked to physical certification and 83% of the volume was matched through the purchase of book and claim credits.

We estimate that the volume of sustainably farmed soy McDonald’s used in 2020 adds up to more than 359,000 acres of farms – or enough to cover the Island of Manhattan 24 times over – meeting this production standard.

Goal: Coffee

By the end of 2020, all coffee sourced for McDonald’s restaurants will be sustainably sourced2.

Progress

98.1% of our ground and whole bean coffee was sustainably sourced in 2020. Our volume of sustainably sourced coffee is enough to brew close to five billion small cups of McCafé coffee.

Goal: Fiber

By the end of 2020, all primary fiber-based guest packaging sourced for McDonald’s restaurants will come from recycled or certified sources5.

Progress

McDonald’s is one of the top sustainable fiber users in the world. In 2020, 99.6% of our primary fiber-based guest packaging was sourced from recycled or certified sources.

Animal Health and Welfare Goals

Goal: Animal Housing

Progress

In the U.S., we’re working with pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestation stalls (small, enclosed pens) for housing pregnant sows by 2022.

We achieved our 2017 milestone to source pork for our U.S. business only from producers who share our commitment to phase out gestation stalls.

The U.S. pork supply chain is currently tracking at around 50% of our 2022 target.  Although progress and conversion rates have been delayed by the impacts of COVID-19 and the global outbreak of African Swine Fever, we remain committed to working with our suppliers and agricultural partners to achieve our commitment

Goal: Cage-Free and Free-Range Eggs

Progress

The U.S. egg supply chain is 62% cage-free.  Canada now sources more than 55% cage-free eggs. Australia’s egg supply chain is 100% cage-free.

All European markets have used cage-free eggs for the breakfast menu since 2011 (except Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine, which account for approximately 6% of whole eggs in Europe), while France, Germany and the U.K. have achieved a 100% cage-free egg supply chain.

Goal: Chicken Welfare

Progress

Our commitment to sourcing chickens raised with improved welfare outcomes impact more than 70% of our global chicken supply and will be fully implemented on or before 2024.

Responsible Antibiotic Use Goals

Goal: Responsible Antibiotic Use in Chicken

Eliminate the use of antibiotics defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as Highest Priority Critically Important (HPCIA) to human medicine – as defined by the WHO – from all chicken served in McDonald’s restaurants by 2027.8

Progress

We strive to eliminate HPCIAs in our chicken supply chains in the following nine markets by 2027. So far, we have achieved the following:
 

  • Australia: All chicken suppliers eliminated the use of HPCIAs in our chicken supply chain as of July 2019.
  • Brazil: HPCIAs have been eliminated in broiler chicken since 2018.
  • Canada: HPCIAs have been eliminated in broiler chicken since 2018.
  • China: On track to remove HPCIAs from chicken supply chains by 2027.
  • Europe: All chicken suppliers eliminated the use of HPCIAs in our chicken supply chain as of July 2019.
  • Japan: HPCIAs have been eliminated in broiler chicken since 2018.
  • Russia: Granted extension until 2021 to onboard new chicken suppliers. 
  • South Korea: Granted extension until end of 2021 to onboard new chicken suppliers. 
  • U.S.: 100% of chicken served in the U.S. has been free of antibiotics important to human medicine since 2016.

Goal: Responsible Antibiotic Use in Beef

In collaboration with our suppliers, producers and farmer partners, we will reduce the overall use of medically important antibiotics – as defined by the WHO – in our beef supply chain.9

Progress

McDonald’s has established pilots in each of our top 10 beef sourcing countries. Within each of these 10 countries, there are pilot farms selected that represent differing geographies and rearing practices covering commercial feedlots, small producers and dairies.

Footnotes

12020 Goal Progress Key:

Achieved 100%
Substantially Achieved 95% to 99.9%
Not Yet Achieved <94.9%

2 Coffee. Scope: Includes all ground and whole bean coffee, including decaffeinated coffee, used in espresso-based drinks and coffee brewed at McDonald’s restaurants and all ground and whole bean coffee in McDonald’s branded retail products. Includes all suppliers of coffee to the McDonald’s System. Market scope includes all McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by the Company and its Franchisees that sell coffee and retail outlets selling McDonald’s branded coffee products. Sustainably sourced refers to coffee, sourced by suppliers to the McDonald’s System, which complies with the requirements set out by one of the following third-party certification schemes as being either: Rainforest Alliance Certified™ (www.ra.org); UTZ Certified (www.utz.org); Fair Trade USA Certified (www.fairtradecertified.org); Fair Trade International Certified (www.fairtrade.net), or sourced from an approved McCafé Sustainability Improvement Platform (SIP) program. McDonald’s requires all coffee sourced from Honduras, Indonesia, and Vietnam to be Rainforest Alliance Certified™. Exclusions: Coffee extracts and ingredients used in products such as frappés and coffee in baked goods; coffee in cold brew drinks if they are brewed off-site; coffee extract in ready-to-drink retail products; and other locally sourced products containing coffee.

3 Palm Oil. Scope: Includes all palm oil (including crude palm oil, palm kernel oil, derivatives and fractions) sourced for McDonald’s restaurants for use as restaurant cooking oil and, all palm oil sourced by McDonald’s suppliers and used directly as an ingredient in a McDonald’s product and listed on the product’s ingredient statement. Includes all suppliers of products containing palm oil in the McDonald’s System and all McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by the Company and its Franchisees which use palm oil. All palm oil volumes are required to be covered by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification or credits. All RSPO supply chain models applicable to RSPO are applicable to McDonald’s: RSPO Identity Preserved (IP), RSPO Segregated (SG), RSPO Mass balance (MB), Book and Claim (BC) although McDonald’s Is committed to increasing traceability by specifying physical certification for the palm oil used in the McDonald’s System in the greatest volumes (IP, SG or MB).  Exclusions: Palm oil, palm kernel oil or their derivative used as secondary ingredients in McDonald’s products. This is when palm oil is used as an ingredient within an ingredient; for example, an emulsifier.

4 Fish: Fish refers to any type of fish species used as an ingredient in a McDonald’s product and listed on the product’s ingredient statement. Wild-Caught Fish refers to fish that come from seas, rivers, and other natural bodies of water. Filet-o-Fish refers to the McDonald’s menu item containing wild-caught-fish.  Verified sustainable sources refers to Wild-Caught fish, sourced by suppliers to the McDonald’s system, from Fisheries that are annually verified as compliant to the McDonald’s Sustainable Fisheries Standard by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnerships www.sustainablefish.orgMSC Certification: MSC certification is optional to McDonald’s markets. Fisheries may also be independently certified as meeting the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fishing where a certificate of conformity to an MSC Standard has been granted. Source: www.msc.org. McDonald’s may display the MSC certification logo in some of its markets, where fisheries and restaurants are certified against the MSC Chain of Custody traceability standard. Scope: Includes all wild-caught fish sourced for Filet-o-Fish portions served in McDonald’s restaurants. Filet-o-Fish represents over 98% of the total fish volumes used in the McDonald’s system (by weight). Includes all suppliers of wild-caught fish for Filet-O-Fish to the McDonald’s System and all McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by the Company and its Franchisees which sell fish. Exclusions: Products that are not Filet-O-Fish containing wild-caught or farmed fish. We estimate that these products represent less than 2% of the total fish sourced by McDonald’s by weight and may include products such as tuna, prawns, shrimp, salmon, calamari; other breaded products and locally sourced products. The Company has set an expectation that these products are sustainably sourced although they are not included in this global performance measure given the local, and often promotional, nature of these items.

5 Fiber: Primary fiber-based packaging refers to products that are used to package guest food on premises at McDonald’s restaurants. This type of packaging includes containers, cups, wraps, bags for food, beverages, napkins, folding cartons, clamshells, wraps, food service bags, napkins, salad bowls, Happy Meal cartons, drink carriers and cup carriers. Certified Sources refer to suppliers of primary fiber-based packaging to the McDonald’s system which comply with the Forest management and Chain of Custody certification requirements set out by one of the following third-party schemes: Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®); Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFCTM) or, PEFC endorsed national systems including, for example, Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®), CSA Group (Canada), and Cerflor (Brazil). McDonald’s requires all wood fiber sourced from Argentina, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Russia, and Vietnam to be Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Certified or FSC Controlled Wood sources with full chain of custody certification. Recycled sources sources refers to material that has been reprocessed from recovered (reclaimed) material by means of a manufacturing process and made into a final product or into a component for incorporation into a product. Recycled material applies to plastics and fiber. Fiber-based packaging made from 100% recycled sources must be third-party verified, unless certified under a Chain of Custody forest management standard. Source: ISO 14021:2016. Renewable sources refer to material that is composed of biomass from a living source and that can be continually replenished. Renewable applies to plastics only, not fiber. Source: ISO 14021:2016, for plastic, ASTM 6866 or ISO 16620-2. Third party verification means that an independent accredited organization has reviewed the manufacturing process of a product and has determined that the final product complies with standards for the attributed claim. Credible third parties include professional auditing and certification bodies. Exclusions: Primary fiber-based packaging in food packaged off-site McDonald’s restaurants; wood stirrers and cutlery, tray liners, straws and limited locally sourced items.

6 Beef. Scope: Includes all beef raw material used in beef patties sourced for McDonald’s products from beef patty manufacturers that supply McDonald’s restaurants in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom or Poland.  Includes all McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by the Company and its Franchisees in these countries which collectively represent circa 85% of our global beef volumes. Global Roundtable of Sustainable Beef (GRSB) principles and criteria aim to define beef sustainability globally. The five core principles are focused on managing natural resources responsibly, respecting people and communities, caring for the welfare of animals, ensuring the safety and quality of beef and driving efficiency and innovation to reduce waste and improve economic viability. These principles allow for national and regional interpretation, given the significant variation in production systems, legal frameworks, sociopolitical factors and climates that exist across the globe.  Exclusions: Beef used as secondary ingredients in McDonald’s products, for example as flavoring in a sauce.

7 Soy (for chicken feed). Scope: Includes all soybean volume used in the feed of chicken sourced for McDonald’s products by all chicken suppliers to the McDonald’s System and all McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by the Company and its Franchisees which sell chicken. Europe refers to Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Herzegovina, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ukraine. Given the complexity of soy supply chains, we consider that, unless demonstrated, all of McDonald’s sources of soy for chicken feed fall into high deforestation priority regions with the exception of chicken sourced in North America where soy used in chicken feed is locally produced and considered low risk. Exclusions: Soy used as an ingredient in McDonald’s products sold in restaurants, for example, soy oil.

8 Responsible Antibiotic Use in Chicken. Scope: Includes all chicken raw material sourced for McDonald’s products in Brazil, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the U.S., Australia, Russia, China and Europe. Europe refers to Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ukraine. Farmers will still use ionophores, a class of antibiotics that are not prescribed to people, to help keep chickens healthy.

9 Responsible Antibiotic Use in Beef. Scope: Includes all beef raw material used in beef patties sourced for McDonald’s products from beef patty manufacturers that supply McDonald’s restaurants in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom or Poland.  Includes all McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by the Company and its Franchisees in these countries which collectively represent circa 85% of our global beef volumes.