Building Climate Resiliency and Protecting Nature
Our Priority ESG Issues
In partnership with our Franchisees, suppliers and producers, we’re finding innovative ways to reduce emissions, keep waste out of nature and preserve natural resources.
Climate change and its impacts not only pose significant risks to the resilience of our food supply, but also to all communities. We are helping transform food systems for the better, caring for our shared planet by reducing emissions, and adapting and safeguarding our ability to feed communities today and in the future.
Packaging is important in reducing food waste. Our packaging and waste strategies, as well as efforts to reduce plastics in Happy Meal toys, help keep communities clean, protect the planet for future generations and support long-term business resilience. Despite systemic challenges, like recycling infrastructure limitations, we’re committed to achieving a more circular economy – where we help keep materials in use rather than relying on new ones.
We aim to help preserve and regenerate nature, support biodiversity and engage the communities and farmers closest to natural ecosystems to build resilience together. By using natural resources in ways that help protect the environment – and encouraging others to do the same – we can continue reducing our impact while helping contribute to nature-positive supply chains and a more sustainable global economy.
Discover how our ambitious goals are guiding our responsible sourcing, as well as how we are building business resilience into our business in a changing world. We are also committed to respecting the human rights of the people who work across the System.
- We joined the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, putting McDonald’s on the path to net zero emissions by 2050.
- We participated in COP26 where our CEO and other leaders 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.
- We released our inaugural Climate Risk & Resiliency Summary (PDF – 3.82 MB), guided by recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), demonstrating our commitment to assessing, managing and disclosing climate related risks and opportunities for our business.
- As of the end of 2021, we have achieved a 10.2% reduction in the absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of our restaurants and offices, and a 9.1% reduction in supply chain GHG emissions intensity, compared to 2015 baseline figures.
Packaging, Toys & Waste
- Approximately 82.7% of our packaging materials and 97.6% of our primary fiber packaging comes from recycled or certified sources. We’re aiming for 100% certified, recycled or renewable guest packaging materials by the end of 2025.
- Our ambition is to drastically reduce plastics and offer sustainable Happy Meal toys1 and transition to more sustainable materials by the end of 2025. Since 2018, we have reduced virgin fossil fuel-based plastic in Happy Meal toys by 24.4% globally and we continue to work on sourcing materials used in Happy Meal toys from renewable, recycled or certified sources.
- By the end of 2021, in our top 35 markets, on average 35% of restaurants offered guests the opportunity to recycle packaging items.
Nature, Forests & Water
- Since 2020, 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. In aggregate, 97.7% of these priority commodities supported deforestation-free supply chains in 2021.
- We carried out water efficiency pilots in restaurants in California. post-implementation analysis resulted in roughly a 30% reduction in usage, an annualized saving of 3.7 million gallons of water.
- 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.
- McDonald’s recently joined global efforts to reach net zero emissions by 2050
- Several of our restaurants around the world are making progress for the planet
Reporting Across Our Purpose & Impact Web Pages
This section of our website – Our Purpose & Impact – is a living report where we share our approach to, and progress against, our priority ESG issues. Our goals and performance work in tandem to drive transformation across our four Impact Areas – the topics we know matter most to our stakeholders – helping up stay accountable for realizing our purpose and driving meaningful impact. Within these Impact Areas we have established strategies, goals, policies and performance indicators to manage our performance.
Relevant Reports and Summaries
- 2021 Climate Risk & Resiliency Summary (PDF – 3.82 MB)
- 2021 CDP Climate Change (PDF– 588 KB)
- 2021 CDP Forests (PDF– 580 KB)
1 Toys: Scope: Inclusive of all toys. Fiber-based toys or fiber components in the toys: 100% certified fiber required. All other materials: McDonald’s ambition is to reduce the use of virgin fossil fuel-based plastics, offer sustainable toys by the end of 2025 and not manufacture electronics and batteries in Happy Meal toys globally. For bio- and plant-based plastics to be considered sustainable for McDonald’s, a minimum of 60% of plastic weight is required to come from recycled or renewable content or a combination of recycled and renewable content, though in many practical applications we anticipate that percentage will be much higher. The remaining 40% may be conventional fossil fuel-based material. These thresholds were developed in conjunction with input from NGOs, external manufacturing partners and scientists, and based on an assessment of sustainable toy and packaging industry leaders so that our targets reflected current sustainable engineering capabilities to maintain safety and functionality. Our efforts will result in an approximate 90% reduction in virgin fossil fuel-based plastic use against a 2018 baseline. Fiber-based packaging: Source: ISO 14021:2016. McDonald’s requires all wood fiber sourced from Argentina, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Russia and Vietnam to be FSC® certified or FSC Controlled Wood sources with full chain of custody certification. Russia is included for the purposes of performance reporting to the end of December 2021. The thresholds described above do not include the presence of adhesives, glues, inks, paints and coatings.
Additional issues across our four pillars include: