Why 100% Sustainably Sourced Coffee Matters

November 12, 2019


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Today McDonald’s USA announced a milestone for its McCafé coffee:  100% of the ground and whole bean coffee for US restaurants is sustainably sourced*. That’s one year ahead of our 2020 goal and a key step towards sourcing coffee sustainably across the company worldwide.

What’s the big deal? Global climate change is threatening the future of coffee – from the environment where it grows to the livelihoods and communities of the farmers who cultivate it. McDonald’s efforts are part of an industry-wide movement to ensure a long-term, sustainable supply of coffee.

Here are 3 Ways McDonald’s is Protecting the Future of Coffee

1. Protecting the Environment

Because of where it grows, largely in a band around the equator, today coffee is one of the most vulnerable crops to climate change. McDonald’s work promotes sustainable production practices like water conservation, planting new coffee trees and improving the soil.

In the Antioquia region of Colombia, for example, McDonald’s sustainability efforts helped result in impacts like reducing water consumption by 36,000 liters per year, planting 326,000 new coffee trees and rehabilitating millions more. (Related: Coffee production is shrinking: Here’s what we’re doing about it.)

Additionally, through our work with the Rainforest Alliance, suppliers are required to adhere to standards such as biodiversity conservation and prohibiting deforestation.

2. Scaling Sustainability

In the US, we source coffee sustainably through McDonald’s McCafé Sustainability Improvement Platform (SIP) or the Rainforest Alliance.

McCafé SIP is a coffee sustainability program developed in partnership with Conservation International to protect the environment and support farmers across our vast coffee supply chain. When developing this program, we saw it as an opportunity to guide our supply chain in sustainable sourcing and invest in coffee farmers over the long term.

“McDonald’s achievement of sustainably sourcing 100% of their coffee shows that sustainability can scale and it’s not just for niche or small businesses,” says Conservation International CEO, Dr. M Sanjayan. (Related: What does it mean to sustainably source coffee?)

3. Supporting Coffee Farmers and Communities

Through McCafé SIP, for example, in 2018 across Colombia, McDonald’s partnered with supplying roasters to support more than 3,700 farmers through trainings, individual farm visits to provide technical guidance, community support, and premium payments to support farmer economic viability.

“By working with coffee producers like Carlos Arturo Gonzalez and Maria Faneira Toro at La Chispa Farm in Antioquia, Colombia, we’re able to connect with the real needs of the coffee growing communities,” says Molly Laverty, sustainability director at Farmer Brothers, a supplying roaster. “[We’re] helping to improve coffee growing conditions for producers and their families, ensuring their farm will be sustainable for their family’s future generations”

Today we engage more than 6,000 farmers throughout Central and South America through the McCafé SIP program.

*Includes ground and whole bean coffee sourced for all McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. except Hawaii.



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