We’re using our scale and influence to help positively impact our planet, animals and the people in our supply chain, especially for our priority ingredients where we can have the greatest impact: beef, soy for chicken feed, fiber, palm oil, fish and coffee.
The road to serving a McDonald’s menu item to a delighted customer is long and complex. Our global supply chain spans countries, continents and industries. We approach responsible sourcing holistically, understanding that our work impacts the livelihoods of people, the health of our shared planet and the well-being of animals. We believe we must respect them all.
Our responsible sourcing approach is key to how we’re taking climate action.
- 98.5% of beef sourced for McDonald’s restaurants supported deforestation-free supply chains by the end of 2022.1
- 88.8% of the fish sourced for McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish® was from sustainably managed wild-caught fisheries, assessed and verified annually against the McDonald’s Sustainability Fisheries Standard by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.2,
- 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 in 2022.3
- 100% of soy sourced in 2022 for the feed of chicken used in McDonald’s products supported deforestation-free supply chains globally.4
- 99.9% of our ground and whole bean coffee was sustainably sourced in 2022.5
- 97.2% of our primary fiber-based guest packaging was sourced from recycled or certified sources in 2022.6
To uphold our brand value of doing the right thing and to our long-term ability to provide quality food to customers, we are committed to creating transparent and trusted supply chains.
We approach responsible sourcing by considering our impact – from the livelihoods of the people who produce our food and the communities where they live to the well-being of the planet and animals we rely on.
We aim to deliver responsible sourcing programs that drive lasting, meaningful outcomes on critical environmental, social and corporate issues.
Using Our Global Scale to Advance Regenerative Agriculture
Regenerative farming is a critical part of our strategy for responsible sourcing and a long-term, global priority for the business. The goal of regenerative food systems is to work with nature to increase biodiversity, enrich soils and optimize water availability. These restorative practices will help enhance ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, while improving productivity, nutrient cycling and climate resilience.
Looking ahead, we believe there is always the opportunity to achieve more and that regenerative agriculture – the process of restoring and rebuilding ecosystems – can provide crucial solutions to help tackle climate, biodiversity and environmental challenges. It is an essential way to actively mitigate negative climate impacts while also amplifying and creating new environmental benefits. Regenerative agriculture can:
- Build healthier and more productive soil that better sequesters carbon and is more drought and flood resilient.
- Decrease the use of chemical inputs.
- Improve water aeration and retention, and foster cleaner/safer runoff.
- Enhance wildlife habitats and increase the biodiversity of flora and fauna.
Among recent initiatives, we have joined with industry peers to form AgMissionTM, a global collaboration co-created by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research and the World Farmers’ Organisation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in agriculture.
As one of the world’s largest buyers of beef, we have the opportunity to help drive positive change across global food systems in partnership with many farmers, ranchers and producers. We continue to use our influence as a global business to help galvanize action and collaboration between suppliers, producers and others.
McDonald’s policies, standards and specifications for raw materials and finished products outline our expectations of our beef suppliers. These include strict requirements for food safety and animal health and welfare, as well as employee workplace accountability. Suppliers are audited annually by third parties and must be compliant to retain their ability to supply McDonald’s.
More Than a Decade of Collaborative Action
We’ve worked alongside a diverse, global network of suppliers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and scientists for over a decade. Through these efforts, we’ve collaborated with farmers and ranchers to support long-term livelihoods and resiliency, as well as to embed beef farming methods that protect and maintain native landscapes, improve biodiversity and sequester carbon in soils.
Our top 10 beef sourcing markets represent more than 80% of our global beef supply chain. Working with farmers, suppliers, industry groups, academia, civil society and the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), we have helped establish multi-stakeholder roundtable groups in each of these markets, including: the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil, as well as the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability (ERBS) involving Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Poland and the U.K.
We were a founding member of the GRSB in 2011. This brought together key stakeholders across the beef value chain to accelerate and continuously improve sustainable practices. Our leadership in the GRSB helped establish principles and criteria for sustainable beef farming, as well as key principles and criteria for natural resource management, respecting people and communities, animal welfare, food safety and quality, waste reduction and economic viability. In 2021, the GRSB set ambitious goals around reducing GHG emissions, nature-positive production and animal welfare.
Recognizing Flagship Farmers of Beef
We are committed to helping farmers leverage the power of peer influence to elevate, inspire and share beef sustainability best practices with one another. Our Flagship Farmers Program helps to recognize producers who are leading the industry with pioneering sustainability practices.
We’re proud to have identified and recognized Flagship Farmers across our beef sourcing regions.7 Through the program, we encourage peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing that showcases farmers leading sustainability efforts and encourages wider adoption of these practices.
The program offers an online resource for producers worldwide that celebrates innovative solutions around issues such as soil health, sustainable grazing techniques, animal welfare, biodiversity, ecosystem protection and GHG emissions.
Watch the video to meet some of our Flagship beef farmers and see the work they do.
Reducing Emissions in Our Beef Supply Chain
Beef is one of the top three contributors to the overall carbon footprint of our supply chain. We’re prioritizing development of a beef climate roadmap with input from our suppliers, NGOs, academics and other experts. Read more about our climate commitment on our Climate Action page.
Developing Programs to Measure and Scale Beef Sustainability
In addition to our regenerative grazing programs, we partner with farmers, ranchers and other experts to develop and scale new approaches to beef production – from an online environmental footprint calculator used by farmers in France to an animal welfare and sustainability program that has reached 3,600 farms in Germany.
Enhancing Chicken Welfare
Our global commitments are to source chickens raised with improved welfare outcomes and, where possible, to replace antibiotics with long-term solutions to prevent diseases and protect animal welfare. Read more about the key welfare indicators we have introduced to determine chicken health at a farm level on our Animal Health & Welfare page.
Supporting Sustainable Soy for Chicken Feed
One of the primary environmental impacts of raising chickens comes from the use of soy in their feed. In 2021, we continued to meet our previous goal to have 100% of the soy sourced for feed of chicken used in McDonald’s products support deforestation-free supply chains globally.4
We’ve been on a journey to enhance our chicken sourcing requirements – from launching our 2024 Broiler Welfare Commitment 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 worked toward improving the resiliency and the sustainability of our chicken supply chain. Read more about how we are developing state-of-the-art welfare measurement technology on our Animal Health & Welfare page.
Climate-Smart Agriculture Programs
McDonald’s is partnering with Tyson Foods on the row crop portion of Tyson Foods’ Climate Smart Commodities Grant Project and plans to commit $10 million in funding over five years. At scale, this program aims to cover 2 million acres of crop land, some of which will be used to feed Tyson Foods chickens in the U.S., including those entering the McDonald’s U.S. supply chain through 2030. If successful, the Climate Smart Commodities Grant Project also aims to reduce 170,000 metric tons of CO2e annually by year five of the program.
Tyson will leverage and expand its existing grain purchasing program to engage directly with producers in the southeast U.S. The program will provide technical assistance and incentive payments to farmers willing to adopt climate-smart agriculture practices for the first time, as well as early adopter farmers who are already implementing them. The program will also include a measuring, monitoring, reporting and verification component.
See our latest report for our progress on sourcing chicken responsibly. See also our Animal Health & Welfare web page for more on our approach.
We want customers to walk into any McDonald’s restaurant globally and enjoy an affordable, quality cup of coffee that benefits farming communities, supports a deforestation-free supply chain and is sustainably sourced.5
This is achieved in one of two ways: coffee is sourced as certified to international sustainability standards through organizations such as Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade International and Fair Trade USA, or coffee is sourced from farms participating in approved roaster-led programs that comply with the McCafé SIP program. These two approaches are complementary efforts and McDonald’s will continue to support both certification and direct engagement with farmers as methods to achieve positive impacts.
To meet our commitment to support a deforestation-free supply chain, coffee sourced in high-risk countries for deforestation must be Rainforest Alliance certified. See our latest report for our progress on responsibly sourcing coffee. See also our Nature, Forests & Water web page for more on our approach.
McCafé Sustainability Improvement Platform (McCafé SIP)
McCafé SIP is a framework that enables McDonald’s coffee suppliers to build on their expertise and relationships and innovate efficiently and effectively to drive continuous improvements in the coffee supply chain. McCafé SIP was launched in 2016 with partners including Conservation International, the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) and an advisory panel comprising several other NGOs and certification bodies.
The program sets out the framework to engage and guide McDonald’s coffee supply chain in sustainable sourcing, as well as promote long-term investments by the McDonald’s System in coffee growers and their communities. We currently source coffee through McCafé SIP in five countries across South and Central America and reached over 5,700 farms in 2022.
McCafé SIP provides visibility to coffee farms, enabling McDonald’s and participating roasters to invest in activities that meet the unique needs of each coffee-growing community in its supply chain.
In addition to mechanisms that provide greater confidence, McCafé SIP promotes transparency, allowing us to understand who grows our coffee; producer collaboration to provide relevant training and tools to farmer communities; and continuous improvements where performance and progress toward improved social, environmental and economic standards can be measured.
Palm oil produced for McDonald’s3 must be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which sets out strict criteria to minimize negative impacts to the environment and to communities in palm oil producing regions.
McDonald’s is committed to working together with stakeholders and supply chain actors to directly support development and improvement of sustainable palm oil production. We have recently engaged with one of our major palm oil suppliers, Wilmar, on a series of projects to improve transparency and sustainability outcomes for our supply chain, alongside our joint partners in Proforest.
Across Wilmar and McDonald’s, we share a commitment to the sustainable sourcing of palm oil and to supporting the delivery of NDPE (no deforestation, no expansion on peat and no exploitation) in palm oil production. We have both been engaged in the development of the NDPE Implementation Reporting Framework (NDPE IRF), which provides an overview of progress toward NDPE for all palm oil mills supplying a refinery.
See our latest report for our progress on responsibly sourcing palm oil. See also our Nature, Forests & Water web page for more on our approach.
McDonald’s is a large purchaser of white fish,2 and has played an important role in improving the sustainability of the global whitefish sector by implementing independently verified criteria for healthy fish stocks, impact on ecosystems, fisheries’ management and other key actions. We support global efforts to restore depleted fish stocks and conserve marine environments.
Our goal is that all the wild-caught fish sourced for use in McDonald’s products comes from verified sustainable sources.
We continue to work with partners and independent experts, such as the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), to identify ways to improve the health of marine ecosystems and promote respect for human rights for the people working across our fish supply chain.
Fiber is the main material used for our product packaging. To conserve forests and accelerate climate action, we must 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 packaging for McDonald’s restaurants from recycled or certified sources, and support deforestation-free supply chains by the end of 2020.6
This target supports our larger goal of ensuring that, by the end of 2025, all of McDonald’s guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources. See our latest report for our progress on responsibly sourcing fiber.
McDonald’s requires that our primary fiber supply is obtained from Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)-certified or FSC-controlled wood sources, with full chain-of-custody certification when the country of fiber origin includes Argentina, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Russia or Vietnam.
By switching to more sustainable packaging materials, we’re actively working toward addressing deforestation risk, conserving forests and ensuring valuable resources are reused by creating new markets for recycled materials.
1 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 U.S., Australia, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Canada, the U.K. or Poland. Includes all McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by the Company and its Franchisees in these countries, which collectively represent over 80% of our global beef volumes, as of the end of 2021. The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) aims to define the principles of and criteria for beef sustainability globally. The five core principles are focused on the following: 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.
2 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 Partnership. 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 97% 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 that 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 and 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.
In 2022, we saw a decrease in the percentage of our fish sourced from sustainably managed wild-caught fisheries. This was due to impacts on our supply chain from the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and McDonald’s decision to exit the Russian market in 2022. This resulted in an increase of fish sourced from fisheries whose Fishery Improvements Projects are not yet compliant with our standards. Moving forward, we have plans in place to reduce sourcing from non-compliant fisheries and will increase our supply of fish sourced from compliant fisheries as new facility options become available.
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 that 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) and 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, as an emulsifier.
4 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 that 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, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and 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.
5 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.
6 Fiber. Scope: 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. In 2021, the primary fiber-based packaging scope was expanded to include wood stirrers and cutlery, as well as paper straws and lids. Certified sources refer to suppliers of primary fiber-based packaging to the McDonald’s System that 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 from an FSC-controlled wood source with full chain-of-custody certification. Recycled sources refer 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; tray liners and limited locally sourced items.