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.
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:
- Promoting the health and welfare of animals
- Respecting human rights
- Addressing climate change
- Reducing food and packaging waste
- Protecting water resources
- Conserving forests
- Farmer livelihoods
We have 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.
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.
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 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.
To achieve this, we co-founded the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) in 2011, and we have worked since then to develop sustainability programs across our top 10 beef sourcing countries. By engaging with producers, NGOs, scientists and key industry stakeholders, we are supporting initiatives aligned with the criteria and principles of the GRSB to encourage the broader adoption of sustainability practices throughout the beef sector.
Read more about our approach to responsibly sourced beef:
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.
There are no broadly accepted standards for chicken sustainability. Which is why we collaborated with diverse stakeholders to define what sustainably sourced chicken means and what actions should be prioritized. In 2018, we brought together an independent global Chicken Sustainability Advisory Council, comprising experts in genetics, leading academics and NGOs to guide our work.
We’ve been on a journey to enhance our chicken sourcing requirements – from launching our chicken welfare commitment to supporting the development of alternative protein feeds to take the 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:
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. It is why we work hard to purchase coffee that is certified to international sustainability standards through world-leading certification schemes such as Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Fair Trade International and Fair Trade USA.
In partnership with Conservation International and our coffee roasters, McDonald’s also launched the McCafé Sustainability Improvement Platform (McCafé SIP) – a framework to engage and guide our coffee supply chain in sustainable sourcing, as well as invest in coffee growers and their communities over the long term. McCafé SIP is currently active in five countries across South and Central America, reaching nearly 6,000 farms as of 2019.
Read more about our approach to responsibly sourced coffee:
All palm oil sourced for McDonald’s restaurants or as ingredients in McDonald’s products supports sustainable production and deforestation-free supply chains through RSPO credits and certification.1 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 global RSPO, and we remain committed to reporting on an annual basis to the RSPO Annual Communication on Progress (ACOP).
Read more about our approach to responsibly sourced palm oil:
Thriving marine ecosystems are essential for biodiversity, livelihoods, food security and economies. We also depend on them for Filet-O-Fish, one of our best-loved menu items.
Over 20 years ago, we identified the need to protect long-term fish supplies and the ecosystems that sustain them. That is why we began work with partners and independent experts such as the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, Conservation International and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to identify ways to improve the health of marine ecosystems.
Our goal is that all the wild-caught fish2 sourced for use in McDonald’s products comes from verified sustainable sources by 2020.3 Sustainably managed fisheries are those that maintain healthy fish stocks, minimize the impact of fishing on ecosystems and manage the seas, oceans and fisheries responsibly. We fully support global efforts to restore depleted fish stocks, improve fishery management and conserve marine environments.
Additionally the majority of the fisheries from which we source are also MSC certified and, 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.
Protecting Fragile Arctic Marine Habitats in the Barents and Norwegian Seas
In 2016, Greenpeace announced an industry-led voluntary agreement to protect fragile arctic marine habitats. In line with that agreement, we announced in 2016 that we would no longer source fish caught in vulnerable or not yet explored areas of the Barents and Norwegian seas.
We made this commitment in response to concerns that, due to climate change-related ice melt, fishing boats may be able to operate in previously unfished areas around the sensitive Svalbard Archipelago. We will keep this policy in place until there is robust, independent research demonstrating that fishing in the area will not cause serious harm to the marine environment.
Lean more about the journey behind a Filet-O-Fish.
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’ve set a goal that by the end of 2020, all primary fiber-based guest packaging4 will come from recycled or certified sources. 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.
Read more about our approach to responsibly sourcing fiber:
By the end of 2020, all of the wild-caught fish sourced for use in McDonald’s products to come from verified sustainable sources.
In 2019, 99% of the fish sourced for 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.
By the end of 2020, we will source a portion of our beef from suppliers participating in sustainability programs aligned with the Global Roundtable of Sustainable Beef (GRSB) Principles and Criteria and that meet McDonald’s requirements in 10 of our top beef sourcing countries globally.8
We are sourcing beef from sustainability programs aligned with the GRSB principles and criteria and that meet McDonald’s requirements in three out of 10 of the beef sourcing countries in scope of the goal. Read about these initiatives in Brazil, Canada and the U.S. on our Sustainable Agriculture & Beef page.
By the end of 2020, all of the palm oil sourced for McDonald’s restaurants and used as ingredients in McDonald’s products, will support sustainable production and deforestation-free supply chains.
100% of the palm oil used in McDonald’s restaurants and as ingredients in McDonald’s products support the production of sustainable palm oil and deforestation-free supply chains.
We are committed to increasing traceability for the palm oil used in the McDonald’s System in the greatest volumes, which means we are increasing our physical Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) volumes (Mass Balance, Segregated and Identity Preserved). Our volumes of physical certified oils increased from 58% in 2018 to 71% in 2019.
By RSPO supply chain model:
71% Physical RSPO certified
- 69% Mass Balance
- 2% Segregated
- 0.1% Identify Preserved
29% Book and Claim Credits
Learn more about our commitment on the Conserving Forests page.
By the end of 2020, all soy sourced for feed of chicken used in McDonald’s products, will support deforestation-free supply chains.
71% of soy sourced for feed of chicken used in McDonald’s products support deforestation-free supply chains9; and 86% of soy sourced for feed of chicken used for McDonald’s products and supplied to McDonald’s restaurants in Europe was covered by a combination of ProTerra or Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) certifications.
As of the end of 2019, 75% of our ground and whole bean coffee was sustainably sourced. This is an increase from 57% in 2018.
By the end of 2020, all primary fiber-based guest packaging sourced for McDonald’s restaurants will come from recycled or certified sources.
As of the end of 2019, 92% of our primary fiber-based guest packaging was sourced from recycled or certified sources.
Animal Health and Welfare Goals
Goal: Animal Housing
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.
Goal: Cage-Free and Free-Range Eggs
The U.S. egg supply chain is now 43% cage-free, and in 2019 we sourced more than 949 million cage-free eggs for our McDonald’s U.S. restaurants.
Canada now sources 42% cage-free eggs, while Australia’s egg supply chain is 100% cage-free. McDonald’s New Zealand is taking a similar approach for its McMuffins, wraps and burgers.
We’ve been cage-free for the breakfast menu in all European markets since 2011 (except Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine, which account for approximately 6% of whole eggs in Europe).
All of the eggs used in our menu and as ingredients in McDonald’s Netherlands products are free-range and France, Germany and the U.K. have also achieved a 100% cage-free egg supply chain.
Goal: Chicken Welfare
Our commitments 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
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 by 2027.12
We strive to eliminate HPCIAs in the following nine markets by 2027. So far, we have achieved the following:
All chicken suppliers eliminated the use of HPCIAs in our chicken supply chain as of July 2019.
HPCIAs have been eliminated in broiler chicken since 2018.
HPCIAs have been eliminated in broiler chicken since 2018.
On track to remove HPCIAs by 2027.
All chicken suppliers eliminated the use of HPCIAs in our chicken supply chain as of July 2019.
HPCIAs have been eliminated in broiler chicken since 2018.
Granted extension until 2021 to onboard new suppliers.
Granted extension until end of 2021 to onboard new suppliers.
100% of chicken served in the U.S. has been free of antibiotics important to human medicine since 2016.
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.
1 Scope: Product scope includes 1) all palm oil sourced for McDonald’s restaurants for use as restaurant cooking oil and 2) 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. Supplier scope includes all globally or locally managed suppliers to the McDonald’s System. Market scope includes all McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by the Company and its Franchisees. 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 in an ingredient, for example, an emulsifier.
2 Scope: Product Scope includes all wild-caught fish sourced for Filet-o-Fish portions used in McDonald’s restaurants (which represents more than 97% of all fish volumes by weight).Supplier scope includes all suppliers of wild-caught fish for Filet-O-Fish to the McDonald’s System. Market scope includes all McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by the Company and its Franchisees. Exclusions: Products that are not Filet-O-Fish containing wild-caught or farmed fish. We estimate that these products represent less than 3% of the total fish volume 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 they are not included in this global performance measure given the local and often promotional nature of these items.
3 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.org. MSC 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 www.msc.org.
4 Primary guest 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. The goal excludes food packaged off-site, wood stirrers and cutlery, tray liners, straws and limited locally sourced items.
5 Renewable sources refers to material that is composed of biomass from a living source and that can be continually replenished. ISO 14021:2016 “renewable” and “Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC recycled” material; for plastic, ASTM D6866 or ISO 16620-2. Renewable applies to plastics only, not fiber.
6 Recycled 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 (ISO 14021:2016 “renewable” and “recycled” material). 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.
7 Certified sources refers 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 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). FSC is specifically required when fiber is sourced from the following high-deforestation priority countries: Russia, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Argentina.
8 We have set beef sustainability goals that we aim to achieve by the end of 2020 and these goals apply to our top beef sourcing countries (the U.S., Australia, Germany, Brazil, Ireland, Canada, France, New Zealand, the U.K. and Poland, which collectively represent more than 85% of our global beef volumes.
9 Scope: Product scope includes all soy sourced for feed of chicken used in McDonald’s products. Supplier scope includes all chicken suppliers to the McDonald’s system. Market scope includes all McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by the Company and its Franchisees. Market scope for performance measure #2 – European: Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Malta, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Hungary, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium, U.K., Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Russia. Soy producing countries identified as high-deforestation priority regions for soy are currently designated as Argentina (Chaco biome), Brazil (Amazon and Cerrado biomes), and Paraguay (Chaco biome). Exclusions: Soy used as an ingredient in McDonald’s chicken products sold in restaurants, for example, soy oil.
10 Scope: Product scope includes all ground and whole bean coffee, including decaffeinated coffee, to be used in espresso-based drinks and coffee brewed at McDonald’s restaurants and all McDonald’s branded retail products (sold either in McDonald’s restaurants or elsewhere). Supplier scope 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. 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.
11 Sustainably sourced or from Sustainable sources refers to coffee, sourced by suppliers to McDonald’s restaurants, 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.
12 Markets covered by the goal include: Brazil, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the U.S., Australia, Russia, China and Europe. For the sake of this goal, Europe includes the following countries: 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.
More in Our Purpose & Impact
Sustainable Agriculture & Beef
We’re promoting sustainable practices that reduce emissions and support farmers.Read More
Our ambition is to eliminate deforestation from our supply chain by 2030.Read More
We're investing in programs that help improve practices and ensure livelihoods.Read More
Animal Health & Welfare
We partner with suppliers and producers to improve animal health and welfare.Read More