Stakeholder Engagement & Public Policy
Our business environment and markets are constantly evolving, influenced by global trends and issues that affect us all. With this in mind, we engage with key stakeholders, drawing on their insights and relevant expertise regarding the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues that we believe McDonald’s can have the greatest impact on. The lasting relationships we’ve developed with experts from academia, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the investment community and others help us better understand and advance progress on a range of impact areas.
Our investors and shareholders are increasingly focused on ESG issues and are interested in engaging on these issues in order to drive continuous improvement across their portfolios and deliver long-term, sustainable value creation. We keep investors informed of our progress and efforts through annual reporting on our website and direct engagement. In response to investor feedback, we continue to leverage the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Reporting Guidance and publish a SASB Index (PDF – 143 KB) capturing our progress to date against SASB’s sector-relevant focus areas.
More specifically, we recognize the importance of disclosing climate-related risks and opportunities for our business, as well as human capital data that supports investors in assessing our management of important human capital issues. In 2021, we published our first Climate Risk & Resiliency Summary (PDF – 3.82 MB), grounded in the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and our first Diversity Snapshot, which was updated in 2022 and published in partnership with our first comprehensive Diversity, Equity & Inclusion report (PDF – 32 MB). We recognize that these issues are of particular interest to our stakeholders, and we will continue to enhance disclosures about our priorities and metrics in these areas as our actions and transparency expectations evolve going forward.
Our independent Franchisees are an integral part of our business, which is why the Company engages with them regularly through Franchisee-led groups, such as the National Franchisee Leaders Association in the U.S. Led by elected Franchisees, these groups connect directly with leaders at the Company on a regular basis to advocate for our Franchisees.
In the U.S., the National Franchisee Leaders Association often engages through teams focused on fundamentals such as franchising, economics, marketing, supply chain, people and technology, among others. It also engages through diversity networks.
Additionally, McDonald’s hosts Worldwide Convention every two years to bring together Franchisees, suppliers, crew members and Corporate Staff to learn from one another, celebrate collective successes and plan for the future of the McDonald’s brand. At this event, we recognize Franchisees who put their customers and people first, lead with integrity, promote inclusion in their community and champion the McDonald’s System through the Fred L. Turner Golden Arch Award.
We work closely with our suppliers, farmers, ranchers and producers to inform, shape and partner on our strategies, working toward more sustainable agriculture practices. We leverage their insights, expertise and partnerships to drive effective action across the supply chain.
Together with our suppliers, we have continued to substantially achieve supporting deforestation-free supply chains across our primary commodities (beef, soy for chicken feed, palm oil, coffee and fiber for guest packaging) and we continue to hold our suppliers to the standards outlined in our 2020 Responsible Sourcing Goals. We also partner across our supply chain to drive progress against our commitments on climate action, forests, animal health and welfare, and human rights.
Whether in restaurants or office buildings, Company employees are the face of our brand and critical to our success. We have developed several channels through which crew members in our Company-owned restaurants and Corporate Staff can communicate their thoughts, concerns and ideas for improvements. These help us to listen and stay responsive and supportive, empowering people to do their jobs better and rewarding jobs well done. We also host town hall meetings and offer face-to-face meetings to keep everyone up to date with the latest Company developments.
Our employee business networks (EBNs) serve as another forum through which Corporate Staff employees can come to together and engage with the Company. These groups help promote an inclusive work environment, foster relationships, support career development opportunities and grow the business.
We value the opinions of our customers and communities all around the world and understand their desire to support companies that share their views on responsible business. We keep our customers engaged through our social media platforms and communication portals, as well as offering a hotline where they can get in touch to share their thoughts and ideas.
We have a long legacy of initiatives designed to provide our neighbors with crucial support and care. We also work with a range of local organizations to provide aid during times of crisis. Read more about this work on our Community Impact page.
Engaging NGOs and academic advisors through strategic partnerships is a key part of how we have managed ESG priorities over the last few decades. We engage with a range of NGOs and external experts who provide insights and perspective that shape our strategies, research, goals, policies and performance indicators to drive greater impact. We often partner with organizations to help us develop and implement initiatives on the ground and to facilitate multi-stakeholder and industry-wide collaborations that help to drive change at scale.
Key NGO Engagement Updates From 2021–2022
- We joined the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, committing to put McDonald’s on the path to net zero emissions by 2050. We also participated in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) where our CEO joined panels and roundtables with other leaders to share notable developments in our climate journey, and to discuss the importance of addressing climate change on a global stage.
- McDonald’s joined the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) Forum to collaborate with others in the industry on the frameworks, metrics and tools that will be used to address nature-related risks and opportunities.
- We shared our plastic footprint data with World Wildlife Fund’s ReSource: Plastic program, a first-of-its-kind effort to quantify corporate impact and track company actions and opportunities to prevent millions of tons of plastic waste. ReSource: Plastic’s annual report Transparent 2021 found that Keurig Dr Pepper, McDonald’s Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks and The Coca-Cola Company cut their use of problematic plastic by 57% between 2018 and 2020.
- We donated $5 million in 2022 to our Employee Assistance Funds and support relief efforts led by the International Red Cross in response to the war in Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian crisis in Europe.
- We continued the five-year $100 million commitment to Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) that we set in 2020 to help RMHC® continue increasing access to medical care for children around the world.
- We’re proud to have joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in 2022, as well as participate in the Consumer Goods Forum, Global Food Safety Initiative and Forest Positive Coalition, among other notable business organizations.
We engage with policymakers to inform them of our commitments and progress in relation to ESG issues and to collect feedback that helps inform our work. We are committed to the highest ethical standards when engaging in political activities and have strong governance practices and accountability measures in place.
We have developed effective policies for the appropriate oversight and disclosure of our political and lobbying activities, and can demonstrate transparency, as required by applicable disclosure laws. We maintain a robust Political Contribution Policy, which is designed to ensure that any political contribution made by the Company is legal, transparent and supportive of responsible business growth.
We publicly post membership in U.S. Trade Associations and ask those associations to certify that McDonald’s membership dues are not used to support candidates or ballot issues.
Our spending on federal lobbying activities in the U.S. is required to be reported to the federal government and is publicly available on websites maintained by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Our spending on state government relations efforts is also generally required to be reported to applicable state governments and is publicly available on those states’ websites. We publish our political contributions on our website.