Conserving Forests

Progress Highlights

 

99.6% of our beef, soy sourced for chicken feed, palm oil, coffee and fiber used in guest packaging volumes supported deforestation-free supply chains in 2020.

99.4% of beef sourced for McDonald’s restaurants supported deforestation-free supply chains by the end of 2020.

100% of soy sourced for the feed of chicken used in McDonald’s products supported deforestation-free supply chains in 2020.

100% of the palm oil used in McDonald’s restaurants and as ingredients in McDonald’s products supported the production of sustainable palm oil and deforestation-free supply chains in 2020.

98.3% of coffee sourced for McDonald’s restaurants supported deforestation-free supply chains in 2020.

99.6% of primary fiber-based guest packaging sourced for McDonald’s restaurants supported deforestation-free supply chains in 2020.

 

Please see our performance section and footnotes below for additional detail.

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

Why It Matters



Forests play a vital role in creating oxygen and absorbing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. People, plants and animals rely on forests for food, fresh water and shelter, yet they and other high value conservation areas remain under threat.

The UN's Global Forest Goals 2021 Report, states that "Between 2015 and 2020, deforestation, which measures the conversion of forest to other land use, stood at 10.2 million hectares (ha) per year."

When we fail to protect forests, climate change effects worsen, critical biodiversity is lost and livelihoods and human rights are threatened – as are the natural ecosystems that we all rely on for the food we eat. Which is why supporting deforestation-free supply chains and promoting forests as a climate solution is not just our responsibility, it is core to our business.

Our Strategy

 

We are accelerating our efforts and remain committed to eliminating deforestation from our global supply chains by 2030.

McDonald’s has been on a journey to support sustainable food production and conserve forests for more than three decades. 2020 saw us reach a major milestone by achieving our deforestation-free goals for several of our primary ingredients and materials.

We are prioritizing the sourcing of raw materials we buy in the greatest volume and where McDonald’s can use our sourcing scale to make the biggest impact – beef, chicken (soy in feed), palm oil, coffee and the fiber used in guest packaging.

Our Commitment on Forests (PDF – 350 KB) and its Supporting Addendum for Commitment on Forests (PDF – 491 KB) set out our vision to achieving our goal. The Commitment applies to all commodities and every region that we source from, and both direct and indirect suppliers to the McDonald’s system.

Importantly, our commitment extends beyond forests to other areas of high conservation value, to the people and communities around the world who depend on forests. McDonald’s is also a signatory to the New York Declaration on Forests, a shared commitment from some of the world’s most influential countries, companies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to help end deforestation by 2030.

We are committed to driving industry transformation and supporting deforestation-free supply chains at scale. For us, supporting deforestation-free supply chains is about more than preventing forest clearances, it means using our size and position to protect biodiversity, reduce our carbon footprint and respect human rights. By working in partnership with suppliers throughout our supply chain, we want to achieve the following:

 

  • No deforestation of primary forests or areas of high conservation value.

  • No development of high carbon stock forest areas.

  • No development on peatlands, regardless of depth, and the utilization of best management practices for existing commodity production on peatlands.

  • Respect human rights.

  • Respect the right of all affected communities to give or withhold their free, prior and informed consent for plantation developments on land they own legally, communally or by custom.

  • Resolve disputes over land rights through a balanced and transparent dispute resolution process.

  • Verify the origin of raw material production.

  • Support smallholders, farmers, plantation owners and suppliers to comply with this commitment.

 

Measuring and Reporting Progress

McDonald’s is committed to transparently and regularly reporting progress toward our sustainability and sourcing goals, including our Commitment on Forests.

In addition to annual progress updates shared here, we report annually through CDP Forests. In 2017, we were one of the first major companies to join the CDP Supply Chain Forests group, alongside one of our largest Franchisees, Arcos Dorados in Latin America. Through this engagement, we’ve since provided CDP with important information on how we are working with our suppliers to manage risks linked to deforestation.

We recognize the challenges related to how companies report progress toward their deforestation commitments and targets, with efforts ongoing to standardize reporting practices. To ensure we are reporting clearly and consistently against our commitments, we work with expert partners and align our definitions with recognized frameworks such as the Accountability Framework initiative (AFi). McDonald’s commitments and expectations are formed based on the definitions of deforestation set out below:

 

  • “Eliminate Deforestation” refers to McDonald’s global pledge to tackle deforestation, and all of the social and environmental criteria in our Commitment on Forests in our agricultural and forestry supply chains. In alignment with the definitions of AFi, we use the term “supporting deforestation-free supply chains” below to more accurately reflect the actions we are taking to implement, measure and report progress toward our Commitment on Forests.

  • “Deforestation” refers to the loss of natural forest as a result of: i) conversion to agriculture or other non-forest land use; ii) conversion to a plantation forest; or iii) severe and sustained degradation as aligned with the definitions of AFi.

  • “High-deforestation priority regions” are defined as countries, biomes, municipalities, postcodes or farms/ plantations that are identified as under threat of deforestation as determined through regular assessments. McDonald’s initially partnered with WWF and its Global Forest & Trade Network to assess its potential impact on deforestation in its priority supply chains. This assessment paired McDonald’s supply chain data with that of the 11 world regions projected to account for the majority of deforestation globally so that McDonald’s could take action to drive the greatest positive impact.

  • “Low-deforestation priority regions” refers to countries, biomes, municipalities, postcodes or farms/ plantations that are classified as no or low risk of deforestation, as determined through regular assessments that rely on the latest supply chain data and trends. McDonald’s assesses this risk annually with third parties, including WWF, to take into account the latest supply chain data and trends.

  • “Supporting deforestation-free supply chains” refers to commodities in our supply chains that are either sourced sustainably from high-deforestation priority regions and comply with the certification or verification schemes as set out below; or are sourced from low-deforestation priority regions as above.

 

Additionally, we know that each commodity is different and requires a tailored approach. For each one, in order to be classed as supporting deforestation-free supply chains, we require the following:

 

  • Beef – McDonald’s requires that all beef sourced from Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Australia meets the requirements of the McDonald’s Deforestation-Free Beef Procurement Policy (DFBPP) and the McDonald’s Commitment on Forests.

  • Soy (for chicken feed) – McDonald’s requires that all soy sourced for the feed of chicken used in McDonald’s products to be either sourced from low-deforestation priority regions or, when sourced from high-deforestation priority regions, to support responsible soy production. We support responsible soy production through the purchase of Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) credits. A number of our chicken suppliers to Europe also use physical certification through Proterra standards. Soy produced in the Amazon biome meeting the Amazon Soy Moratorium requirements is also recognized as compliant when suppliers can provide proof of traceability and assurance. Soy-producing countries with regions currently identified as high-deforestation priority regions for soy include Argentina (Chaco biome), Brazil (Amazon and Cerrado biomes), and Paraguay (Chaco biome). Given the complexity of soy supply chains, we consider that, unless demonstrated, all of McDonald’s sources of soy for chicken fall into high-deforestation priority regions with the exception of chicken sourced in the U.S. and Canada, where soy used in feed is locally produced and therefore volumes are considered low risk.

  • Palm oil – Palm oil sourced for McDonald’s restaurants or as ingredients in McDonald’s products must meet the requirements of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification. All countries are considered high-deforestation priority regions for palm oil and all volumes are required to be covered by RSPO certification or credits. McDonald’s is committed to increasing traceability by requiring physical certification for the palm oil used in the McDonald’s System in the greatest volumes.

  • Coffee – McDonald’s requires coffee sourced from Honduras, Indonesia and Vietnam to be Rainforest Alliance Certified™ or UTZ certified. Further to the Rainforest Alliance’s activation of a program of mutual recognition between the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ coffee certification programs, McDonald’s considers both Rainforest Alliance certified coffee and UTZ certified coffee (www.utz.org) as equally meeting the sourcing requirements from high-deforestation priority regions. Countries with regions identified as high-deforestation priority regions for coffee include Honduras, Indonesia and Vietnam

  • Fiber – McDonald’s requires that our primary fiber supply is sourced 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.

 

Our Commitment on Forests Priority Commodities

Volumes Supporting Deforestation-Free Supply Chains* 2020
Infographic showing total volume supporting deforestation-free supply chains: Beef 99.4%, Soy 100%, Palm oil 100%, Coffee 98.3%, Fiber 99.6%; Volume sourced sustainably from high-deforestation priority regions, verified compliant: Beef 15.7%, Soy 54.7%, Palm oil 100%, Coffee 7.4%, Fiber 16.5%; Volume traced to low- deforestation priority regions: Beef 83.7%, Soy 45.3%, Palm oil 0.0%, Coffee 90.9%, Fiber 83.1%; Not yet compliant: Beef 0.6%, Soy 0.0%, Palm oil 0.0%, Coffee 1.7%, Fiber 0.4%. Footnote – “Supporting deforestation-free supply chains” refers to commodities in our supply chains that are either traced back to low-deforestation priority regions, or sourced sustainability from high-deforestation priority regions and comply with the certification or verification schemes as defined on the McDonald’s Conserving Forests web page.

Download Volumes Supporting Deforestation-Free Supply Chains graphic (PDF – 50 KB)

 

Learn more about Our Performance below.
 

Since 2017, McDonald’s has been collaborating with Proforest, a not-for-profit organization focused on responsible production and sourcing, and other key partners to develop a comprehensive framework to report on our commitments to conserve forests. Our work with Proforest aims to develop criteria, definitions and protocols for our sourcing activities, as well as implementing a strategy for engaging with our suppliers and monitoring and supporting their continuous improvement.

 

Prioritizing Action and Engaging Our Supply Chain

An important step in our journey was to understand exactly where our sourcing was driving deforestation, and where we could take action to drive the greatest positive impact. We partnered with the WWF and our suppliers to identify product origins and assess the potential for deforestation across five priority commodity supply chains. This assessment helped us determine priority geographies by pairing McDonald’s supply chain data with that of the 11 world regions projected by WWF to contribute to the majority of deforestation by 2030, based on WWF’s Living Forests Report.


Our Commitment on Forests Priority Regions

Infographic of Our Commitment on Forest priority regions. Beef: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Australia; Soy: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay; Palm oil: Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea; Coffee: Honduras, Vietnam, Indonesia; Fiber: Argentina, Russia, China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia. Footnote – Priority biome/region: Paraguay: The Chaco in Argentina and Paraguay; Brazil: The Amazon and Cerrado in Brazil; Australia: Queensland in Australia.

Download Our Commitment on Forests Priority Regions graphic (PDF – 167 KB).

 

We monitor compliance with our Commitment on Forests to drive continuous improvement through internal and external audits of our direct suppliers, validating the volumes produced for each commodity. We also rely on reputable commodity-specific third-party certifications for assurance of our soy, palm oil, coffee and fiber. Where suitable certifications do not exist for our priority products, as in our beef supply chain, we invest in external verification systems to map, monitor and address our impact.

Where noncompliance is identified, we engage with suppliers to ensure they implement tailored corrective action plans to address noncompliances and mitigate future risks. Suppliers report to McDonald’s on their progress and compliance annually. We also require our direct suppliers to do the same with their own suppliers.

 

Tyson Foods is a proud global supplier to McDonald’s, and is committed to producing quality, nutritious protein while empowering people, conserving natural resources and innovating for smart, responsible agriculture. We are investing to be part of the solution to climate change and recently raised our climate ambitions to be net zero by 2050. We also established a Global Forest Protection Standard in 2020 and are working toward eliminating deforestation in our global supply chain. This work supports McDonald’s commitment to climate action, sustainable agriculture and beef, water stewardship and conserving forests.
John Randal Tyson, Chief Sustainability Officer, Tyson Foods, Inc.

 

Many of our suppliers are signatories to the New York Declaration on Forests and we rely on our trusted and collaborative supplier relationships to deliver on our 2020 and 2030 forest commitments. We know that the policies and expectations that McDonald’s sets, and the commitments and programs that our suppliers create, are watched closely, and we are encouraged by this because we know that no company can tackle deforestation on its own.

 

Cargill works with farmers to implement sustainable agricultural practices and to protect forests and native vegetation. To advance McDonald’s commitments, we’ve worked together to map key forest commodity supply chains and develop a soy footprint calculator. Together, McDonald’s and Cargill will combine our scale to protect the planet and enhance communities.
Pilar Cruz, Chief Sustainability Officer, Cargill

 

McDonald’s is proud to support the group of NGOs that make up the Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) as they work to create common definitions and guidance for establishing, implementing and demonstrating progress on ethical supply chain commitments in agriculture and forestry.

We aim to drive transformative practices by testing cutting-edge technology, such as global satellite mapping, spatial monitoring tools developed by national governments and utilizing industry-standard definitions from the AFi to define our work. We have incorporated their guidance into raw material specifications for beef, while providing feedback on the practical application of this important set of guidance. Additionally, in alignment with AFi reporting expectations, McDonald’s believes it critical that companies adopt a more transparent and consistent approach to tracking progress, clarifying what progress has been made at various stages of the implementation journey, as well as identifying the challenges that remain.

We also partner with the Collaboration on Forests and Agriculture (CFA), whose focus on beef and soy in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado, and in the Gran Chaco in Argentina and Paraguay aligns closely with our own sourcing regions and products. Alongside our Latin American Franchisee Arcos Dorados, we provide continuous feedback to the CFA’s framework and support solutions that help protect forests and native vegetation in the Amazon, Cerrado and Chaco. In 2020, we conducted a gap analysis against CFA’s operational guidance. The Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA), and its Latin America Working Group, is another critical partnership that enables us to develop and implement locally tailored approaches.

McDonald’s is a member of the Cerrado Manifesto Statement of Support group, which launched in October 2017, and represents an international coalition of over 160 companies and investors aiming to eliminate deforestation in cattle and soy supply chains in Brazil’s Cerrado biome. McDonald’s participation reaffirms our individual and collective commitment to halting forest loss associated with agricultural commodity production, and recognizes the Cerrado’s critically important role in climate change mitigation, biodiversity, water and agricultural production.

We are also engaged with the Good Growth Partnership, a collaboration between the UN Development Program, the Global Environment Facility, the International Finance Cooperation, WWF and Conservation International, and are leveraging their tools to support the implementation of our Commitment on Forests.

 

It is very exciting to see McDonald’s supporting greater transparency on progress across the whole production base, allowing actions to be targeted where they are most needed to drive sectoral improvement.
Dr. Ruth Nussbaum, Co-founder and Director, Proforest

 

We are pleased that, as of 2020, CDP Forests is fully aligned with the AFi. As a result of this alignment, CDP disclosure now enables companies to report on their level of alignment with the Framework’s Core Principles.. Thanks to a year in alignment with this framework, we are in a  stronger position to report with transparency.

 

Taking the Lead on Supporting Deforestation-Free Beef

As one of the world’s biggest buyers of beef, we know the potential for positive impact in the beef supply chain is significant.

The beef supply chain presents an opportunity that McDonald’s is uniquely positioned to address – unlike other major commodities, there was no established certification scheme or credible process to guide companies’ efforts to eliminate deforestation. So we got to work.

In 2013, we started working with Agrotools, a certified B-Corp, to track the origin of all the beef exported from Brazil and sold in McDonald’s restaurants around the world. We then developed a strategy in partnership with Proforest in 2017 to define deforestation risk across the vast landscape of the Cerrado, prioritize specific locations, and assess whether deforestation and noncompliance with the additional social and environmental aspects of our Commitment on Forests were actually happening at the farm level.

This process enabled us to better monitor our beef supply chain and help our suppliers take targeted action. During this process, we also aligned closely with NGOs like WWF and tested emerging frameworks from groups like the AFi. We have since expanded this project to understand our deforestation risk and apply similar principles for our beef supplied from other identified priority regions: Argentina, Australia and Paraguay.

McDonald’s is also a founding member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), and since 2011, has worked closely with industry leaders to bring together stakeholders from across the supply chain to drive collaboration and action around beef sustainability – which includes the conservation of forests. To support the delivery of the GRSB Principles and Criteria on the ground, McDonald’s has helped set up and/or participates in national and regional multi-stakeholder roundtables in several countries, including Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. 

In addition, we are active on the GRSB’s Joint Working Group on Land Use Change, made up of suppliers, producers, finance institutions and partners from civil society. This group has an outcome-focused goal to ensure the beef value chain is a net positive contributor to nature.

Our leadership in beef was also driven by the recognition that beef and soy supply chains are interconnected, as soy production has the potential to expand into existing degraded pasture land, instead of newly deforested land. As part of our overall beef sustainability strategy, we support a focus on intensification, which will allow for soy expansion into existing pasture land. In this way, we’re maximizing our impact and addressing deforestation for both beef and soy by reducing pressure on forests from the expansion of agriculture.

 

Our Approach to Our Beef Supply Chain

1. Policy Development and Adaption

The McDonald’s Deforestation-Free Beef Procurement Policy was developed to help implement the McDonald’s Commitment on Forests in our beef supply chain in line with the McDonald’s global sustainability strategy. This Policy applies to priority countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil and Paraguay) where we aim to quantify and address the link between identified or projected deforestation and our supply chain.  Since each priority country has a distinct context, Proforest and Agrotools have helped us adapt the Policy for each country.

2. Risk Analysis at the Territory Level

Risk analysis helps us prioritize and direct our efforts. We divide our main beef sourcing regions into a smaller set of locations and use Agrotools’ TerraSafe analysis tool and national datasets to develop a score for each. The tool uses a range of data sources to prioritize action, such as using the local definition of forests, and maps of peatlands, environmental hotspots, and other social and environmental aspects relevant in each location.

3. Slaughterhouse Engagement

We work with our direct suppliers to engage with slaughterhouses, prioritizing those with the greatest levels of supply to the McDonald’s System and the level of risk, based on their location. Facilities must identify the location of each supplying farm, and we prioritize these locations using the Agrotools location score.

4. Farm Assessments

A farm’s location may make it a priority, but that does not mean deforestation is happening. Using the best available data in each country, Agrotools runs a detailed assessment, using satellite imagery of the area along with data analysis, to determine whether supplying farms comply with our Deforestation-Free Beef Procurement Policy. Suppliers are expected to address the findings and where required, implement corrective action plans with any farms in their supply chain identified as not in compliance.

This level of detail has given us confidence in the changes that are being made in our priority beef regions and allows us to continue to monitor our non-priority areas as well. It means we can monitor and assess practices at a landscape scale down to individual sourcing areas and farms, and work with others to make a difference.

Confronting Challenges and the Journey Ahead

McDonald’s has been on this journey for some time and we have already made significant progress toward our commitments. Today, supported by transparent, credible data and external verification, we see significant progress toward our goal of eliminating deforestation. However, there is always more to do. Some of the challenges and future opportunities we are working to address include:

 

A Lack of Consistent Definitions Across the Industry

While a robust commitment to eliminating deforestation from our supply chains is a key part of our strategy, we acknowledge that all organizations, including McDonald’s, face challenges from a lack of common understanding on how to define forests and deforestation.

Organizations such as the AFi and CFA have worked to create common definitions, and we need these to be adopted widely to ensure everyone is working toward similar goals and using comparable reporting.

 

Forests as a Climate Solution

We know that corporate accounting and disclosure of GHG emissions from deforestation is a major challenge, and that reporting expectations on these emissions will continue to evolve. We are committed to transparency and strengthening our reporting to help demonstrate how we are managing risks associated with deforestation. But we recognize that we have more work to do to ensure our policies and implementation plan for eliminating deforestation from our supply chains are built into our overall climate action strategy.

Our climate reduction targets include estimated impacts from land use change, and our climate impact tracking system is capable of modeling emissions from land use change such as deforestation for cropland. To demonstrate the positive impact that our Commitment on Forests has had, we have started to bring together our forests and climate measurement system to improve the way we measure the climate impact of forest conservation in our supply chain.

We are also conducting climate scenario modeling and are in the process of adopting the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to help our Company, Franchisees and suppliers understand the impacts of climate change on our business – including deforestation – and advance our climate mitigation and resilience strategies.

 

Traceability

Increasing traceability in our supply chains, especially in areas of heightened risks for deforestation, gives us better idea of where challenges lie and how to best focus our resources and scale to effect lasting change. We also know that our complete supply chain emissions disclosure, including deforestation emissions, relies upon increased traceability. We have achieved significant milestones, especially in our chicken supply chain, by mapping soy sourced for animal feed with real data from our Soy Calculator, which you can learn more about below. Key opportunities for improving include engaging with indirect suppliers, auctions and feedlots for beef and continuing to expand soy traceability. We plan to expand this work to other commodities beyond 2020, continuing to understand the impacts of our supply chains.

 

Biodiversity Loss and Zoonotic Disease Risk

The COVID-19 pandemic has given much greater exposure to the risks posed to global public health by zoonotic diseases – diseases that pass from animals to humans. There is evidence to suggest that causes of biodiversity loss and climate change such as land use change and deforestation are potentially increasing the risk of similar pandemics occurring in the future. This gives us an added reason to continue our work to protect biodiversity, to help protect our health in the future.

 

Seeing Deforestation as a Human Rights Issue

Deforestation-free supply chains are not only about preventing forest clearances – they also address social and human rights issues. Human rights are an important element of our forests commitments and our broad Company commitments, and we are constantly seeking to strengthen our implementation of these.

In 2020, we worked with Proforest to develop a gap analysis of our approach to address human rights in our priority supply chains of beef, palm and coffee. Building on insights from this analysis, we are continuing to work with Proforest to ensure robust mechanisms that embed respect for human rights in the production of these priority commodities.

 

Despite the challenges we face, we remain committed to the elimination of deforestation from our global supply chains by 2030.

 

Helping Support the Sustainable Development Goals

Our work on protecting forests helps support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a global agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, in particular:

Our Performance

Goal

By the end of 2020, eliminate deforestation in supply chains for our beef, chicken (including soy for feed), palm oil, coffee and primary fiber-based guest packaging sourced for McDonald's restaurants.

Progress

As of the end of 2020, 99.6% of our beef, soy sourced for the feed of chicken used in McDonald’s products, palm oil, coffee and fiber used in guest packaging volumes support deforestation-free supply chains.1

 

Beef

99.4% of beef sourced for McDonald’s restaurants supported deforestation-free supply chains by the end of 2020.2

 

Chicken (including soy for feed)

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.3

 

Palm Oil

100% of the palm oil sourced for McDonald’s restaurants and used as an ingredient4 in McDonald’s products supported the production of sustainable palm oil and deforestation-free supply chains in 2020. 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) certified volumes (Mass Balance, Segregated and Identity Preserved). Our volumes of physical certified oils increased from 71.0% in 2019 to 78.1% in 2020.5

Volumes of McDonald's Palm Oil by RSPO Supply Chain Model:

  • 78.1% Physical RSPO Certified
    • 0.1% Identity Preserved
    • 7.1% Segregated
    • 70.9% Mass Balance
       
  • 21.9% RSPO Book and Claim Credits

 

Coffee

98.3% of coffee sourced for McDonald’s restaurants supported deforestation-free supply chains in 2020.6

 

Fiber

99.6% of primary fiber-based guest packaging sourced for McDonald’s restaurants supported deforestation-free supply chains in 2020.7

Our Actions

 

Support of Jaguar Habitats

One of the ways McDonald’s has expanded its work beyond our initial forest commitment is to engage in efforts to halt conversion of ecosystems that host critical biodiversity, including forests, grasslands and savannahs, such as our support of the Instituto Onça-Pintada in Brazil. Apex predators, such as jaguars, are a good indication of a robust and thriving ecosystem. The Certificado Onça-Pintada, or Jaguar Friendly Ranch Certification, by the Instituto Onça-Pintada recognizes accomplishments related to protecting this threatened species. By exemplifying actions and conduct that allow for the coexistence of cattle production and the jaguar, landowners are taking a leadership role in decisions that will help determine the jaguar’s existence for future generations.

Developing the Soy Calculator: A Critical Tool to Tackle Deforestation

To meet our Commitment on Forests, we needed to ensure that the soy footprint calculation reflected the reality of the production of chicken around the world. But we and other companies lacked the tools to do so.

To create such a tool, we engaged with suppliers such as Tyson Foods and Cargill, Franchisees and external partners to develop a soy calculator. The tool’s output is based on real supply chain data gathered across McDonald’s global business.

The calculator provides an estimate of McDonald’s soy footprint (in hectares and volume of soy) in the priority countries of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay by combining different parameters related to the animal production systems in those countries. The chicken raw material volumes are gathered and analyzed and the summarized soy footprint is used to estimate the area for soy production, and the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) equivalent premium (US$) to be purchased by McDonald’s chicken suppliers to initially compensate for it.

The Soy Calculator is a practical and valuable tool that not only helps us implement our Commitment on Forests, but is also an accessible resource for other companies on a similar journey to support deforestation-free supply chains. We first shared this tool at an open forum in São Paolo, Brazil, and we are looking to collaborate with others to widen the use of the tool.

Download the study Estimating the Embedded Soy Footprint of Animal-Based Products (PDF – 1.9 KB).

 

Supporting Jurisdictional Approaches

Jurisdictional approaches are multi-stakeholder governance, monitoring or enforcement programs at a sub-national level that tackle social or environmental challenges such as deforestation, biodiversity loss and farmer livelihoods.

These approaches define relevant boundaries to enable companies sourcing agricultural commodities to collaborate with local governments, communities and producers in their sourcing region. McDonald’s supports jurisdictional approaches because we know that by working together, we can all ensure that local laws, regional efforts and corporate policies work in concert to make regions deforestation-free.

One of the leading jurisdictional approaches is the Produce, Conserve, Include (PCI) strategy in Mato Grosso, Brazil.

An important PCI project is the PECSA program (Pecuária Sustentável da Amazônia / Amazon Sustainable Cattle Ranching, formerly Novo Campo), which McDonald’s and Arcos Dorados took part in alongside the Brazilian Roundtable on Sustainable Livestock, local NGOs and industry partners. It aims to help eliminate deforestation in the Amazon biome and to meet the GRSB Principles and Criteria.

The PECSA program focuses on the recovery of degraded pastures and improvements in animal management, protecting the area’s biodiverse ecosystems.

By mapping beef already sourced from the Mato Grosso region, we are exploring further ways to support the work being done there.

Footnotes

1 Calculated as the aggregated volumes of beef, soy sourced for chicken feed, palm oil, coffee and primary fiber-based guest packaging that are supporting deforestation-free supply chains, as a percentage of the aggregated total volumes sourced of these commodities.

2 Beef. Scope: Includes all beef suppliers to the McDonald’s System and their raw material suppliers globally and all McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by the Company and its Franchisees which sell beef. McDonald’s requires all beef raw material sourced from high-deforestation priority regions to comply with McDonald’s Deforestation-Free Beef Procurement Policy and meet the requirements as outlined in McDonald’s Commitment on Forests. Countries with regions currently identified as high-deforestation priority regions for beef include Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Australia. Exclusions: Beef used as secondary ingredients in McDonald’s products, for example as flavoring in a sauce.

3 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. Countries with regions currently identified as high-deforestation priority regions for soy include Argentina (Chaco biome), Brazil (Amazon and Cerrado biomes), and Paraguay (Chaco biome). 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.

4 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 countries are currently identified as high-deforestation priority regions for palm oil and all 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.

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 which sell coffee and retail outlets selling McDonald’s branded coffee products. Countries with regions currently identified as high-deforestation priority regions for coffee include Honduras, Indonesia, and Vietnam. McDonald’s requires all coffee sourced from these regions 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 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. Includes all suppliers of primary-based packaging to the McDonald’s System and all McDonald’s restaurants owned and operated by the Company and its Franchisees. Countries with regions currently identified as high-deforestation priority regions for fiber include Argentina, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Russia, and Vietnam. McDonald’s requires all wood fiber sourced from these regions to be Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Certified or FSC Controlled Wood sources with full chain of custody certification. Exclusions: Primary fiber-based packaging in food packaged off-site McDonalds restaurants; wood stirrers and cutlery, tray liners, straws and limited locally sourced items.