McDonald’s Annual ESG Reporting Demonstrates Progress in Sustainability Goals and Community Empowerment

July 19, 2022

By Jenny McColloch, Chief Sustainability Officer

As McDonald’s Chief Sustainability Officer, when I think about impact – the positive, meaningful difference we strive to achieve for the customers and communities we serve – I think about the people whose passion drives that effort every single day.

In the 10 years I’ve been at McDonald’s, I have witnessed firsthand just how remarkable our McFamily is. From the scientists who help us manage our carbon footprint to the suppliers who commit to responsible sourcing and our Franchisees who lead in their communities and spend with diverse-owned businesses, it’s the people across our System who constantly push us to think bigger and work harder.

Because the truth is, whether it’s working toward more sustainable food systems or building a more inclusive workplace, there has never been a more important moment for the McFamily to continue  working together to advance our collective impact.

That’s why I’m thrilled to share our 2021-2022 Purpose & Impact Reporting, which details the extraordinary efforts of the McDonald’s System over the past year both globally and locally, including progress against our global sustainability goals and crucial community empowerment programs – both of which are more important than ever in today’s world. It highlights where we and our partners are headed next and how we can continue raising the bar for McDonald’s.

This reporting platform – grounded in the Purpose & Impact section of our website detailing the latest on our ESG approach and performance – reflects our dedication to transparency and accountability, which matters deeply to us. It ensures our stakeholders can see how we’re making good on our promise to deliver progress. And it continues McDonald’s ambition to making business decisions with ESG value creation top of mind. In short, our 2021-2022 reporting reaffirms that our choices, like the chicken in our McNuggets or the materials in our Happy Meal toys, have a significant, tangible impact everywhere the Golden Arches shine.

To that end, I’m excited to share some of the past year’s major highlights. They represent just a snapshot of all that we have achieved while also putting front and center our inaugural Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report, the initiatives that underpin it, and the goals and data we report against to keep us accountable to progress.

  • We’re diversifying our spend in the U.S. We know how important it is for our suppliers to represent the diversity of the customers and communities we serve. It’s why we’re so pleased to share that as of the end of 2021, McDonald’s reached its goal of increasing its U.S. systemwide spend with diverse-owned suppliers to 25%. Additionally, 7.7% of our systemwide U.S. advertising spend was with diverse-owned media companies, production houses and content creators – putting us on track to achieve our original investment ambition of 10% by the end of 2024. We know there’s more work to be done in this space and we’re confident we can have an even greater impact, which is why we’re raising our diverse-owned media investment ambition from 10% to 15% by the end of 2024.
  • We’re fostering brighter futures in the communities we serve. When we invest in our team, we also invest in our community. This companywide belief is evident in programs like Archways to Opportunity, which offers eligible restaurant employees the chance to earn a high school diploma, learn English as a second language, graduate from college and receive counseling and other support to advance their careers. As of year-end 2021, we’re proud that more than 72,000 people took advantage of Archways to Opportunity – creating a better future for themselves and their families.
  • We’re designing out waste. From the materials in our Happy Meal toys to the packaging of our food, we’re working our way toward a more circular system. Approximately 82.7% of our primary guest packaging is sourced from renewable, recycled or certified sources. And since 2018, we have reduced virgin fossil fuel-based plastic in Happy Meal Toys by 24.4%. Ultimately, we aim for all our packaging and materials to join a global circular economy so that we can help protect the planet for generations to come.
  • We’re driving down emissions. Last year, we announced our commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. As part of this action, McDonald’s joined the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and signed on to the Science Based Targets Initiative’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. We’re making progress on these goals, including a 2.9% reduction in absolute emissions from our restaurants and offices relative to 2015 levels and a 7.8% reduction in supply chain emissions intensity compared to 2015. We owe this headway to comprehensive initiatives at both the local and global levels – advancing renewable energy infrastructure, studying pioneering regenerative agriculture practices alongside farmers and ranchers, and collaborating in multi-stakeholder groups to formalize credible emissions measurement norms for agriculture- and nature-based supply chains worldwide. 
  • We’re sourcing responsibly and protecting nature. Our dedication to responsible sourcing began early: In Europe, for example, all the eggs on our breakfast menu have been cage-free since 2011. Since 2014, we have been working toward global sustainability goals for the goods at the heart of our menu – including in coffee, chicken and beef – because we knew we could help drive significant impact in these critical supply chains along with our supplier partners and farmers. We’ve worked with suppliers to advance animal welfare, deforestation-free supply chains and sustainable fisheries because we know how important it is to care for the animals and natural ecosystems we all depend on. We substantially achieved all our 2020 Responsible Sourcing Goals, and we continue to work with our suppliers on what is outlined in those commitments and evaluate the continued progress.
  • We’re helping support families when they need it most. Being part of a community means being there for our neighbors in challenging times. That’s why McDonald’s proudly supports Ronald McDonald House Charities, or RMHC. With a global network of more than 260 Chapters in 60 countries and regions, RMHC helps provide families with housing and access to healthcare services their children need. In 2021, we furthered that mission through a $20 million donation, part of our five-year, $100 million commitment to RMHC. On top of that, McDonald’s, our Franchisees and our customers donated over $168 million to RMHC, helping the charity provide more than 1.8 million overnight stays for RMHC families around the world. 

As these milestones show, across the entire McDonald’s System – from employees to franchisees to suppliers – we are working harder than ever to drive positive impact across the globe. There is still much work ahead, but we remain committed to transparency and accountability so that we can continue to feed and foster communities for generations to come.

Information updated as of August 15, 2022.

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