Working Together to Address Climate Change

October 19, 2015

I am excited to tell you that today, I am at The White Houserepresenting McDonald’s as we join “American Business Act on Climate” pledge. Climate change is a significant global challenge that we must address together as a global society. We all have a responsibility to re-evaluate the way we live, work and treat the planet. Given McDonald’s reach, we are eager to add to this important dialogue and create solutions that will address climate change.

Our pledge to this effort brings together McDonald’s sustainability goals in support of a low-carbon, sustainable future. It highlights our aspirations to source all food and packaging sustainably and to design and operate the most environmentally efficient McDonald’s restaurants.

For McDonald’s, these actions are not merely “nice to dos.” They are fundamental to how we do business and our long-term commitment to making progress on those things that matter most to our customers. 

No one person, organization, government or company can solve this problem alone. Climate change is a cross-sector, cross-industry and cross-boundary challenge. At its core, our pledge reinforces the belief that tackling global sustainability challenges begins with partnership. It is bigger than McDonald’s, and we must work together.

Over the years, we’ve worked with dozens of organizations to learn and create lasting, positive change that benefits the planet and its people. In McDonald’s supply chain, where most of our climate-related impacts occur, we work closely with organizations like World Wildlife Fund (WWF), industry partners, and farmers to support sustainable production of beefcoffeefiber or packaging, and palm oil. Through these efforts, we are making more sustainable menu items accessible to millions of customers around the world, with sandwiches such as our classic Filet-O-Fish, sourced from 100% wild-caught, sustainable fisheries.

When we look across our menu and the many ingredients in our kitchens, beef is iconic to our global brand and has a major footprint on the planet. The beef industry delivers important economic benefits to many communities, and also has environmental impacts that must be managed responsibly. In recent years, McDonald’s has helped to form the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef, a multi-stakeholder group that’s laying the groundwork for more sustainable beef production around the world. We’re excited to begin serving sustainable beef in some areas next year with the goal of increasing that in the future.

McDonald’s is working towards purchasing a portion of our beef from verified sustainable sources starting in 2016.  
We’ve also taken a leadership stance on the important issue of eliminating deforestation and protecting forest ecosystems, which store carbon and are vital for a healthy atmosphere. We endorsed the United Nations’ NY Declaration on Forests and developed our own Commitment on Deforestation, which articulates McDonald’s pledge to eliminate deforestation from our global supply chain.

In our restaurants, energy use and waste are important to us. Recycling used cooking oil for biodiesel and other uses has become increasingly commonplace. Currently, more than 95% of McDonald’s USA restaurants recycle cooking oil for after-market uses. Many McDonald’s franchisees have demonstrated their commitment to supporting our environmental efforts by building green restaurants in their local communities.

Hear from U.S. franchisees about their efforts to use recycled materials in restaurant construction, install energy efficient lighting and generate renewable energy.

By maximizing energy efficiency and investing in renewable energy, we’re managing the environmental impacts of our operations, one restaurant at a time. Last year, the restaurants and franchisees in Europe purchased 76% of their electricity from renewable sources across 21 markets. In the U.S., we’ve signed on to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles to work with fellow companies to make renewable energy purchasing easier and more accessible. And, in the UK, McDonald’s is looking ahead and investing in renewable energy infrastructure for the future.

We’re helping to make sustainability work for the thousands of small business owners who run McDonald’s restaurants around the world. 

When combined, our focus on eliminating deforestation, developing sustainable sourcing programs, and investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy help combat climate change. The world in which we live and operate is changing rapidly, and we must change with it. We will continue to take big, bold steps with our global network of franchisees, suppliers, and partners to manage our carbon footprint. Working together, we can take care of the planet and continue to serve our customers the food they love for generations to come.

Follow @McDonaldsCorp on Twitter and Facebook for the latest on how we’re committed to #ActOnClimate