Helping you wake up to more sustainably sourcedCoffee

We believe coffee should not only taste great, but be sustainably sourced. That’s why we take steps to make sure McCafé supports farmers, their communities and their land. Sustainable sourcing is a key part of our strategy.



Why it matters

More and more of us are getting a taste for good coffee. But this rising global demand, combined with more erratic weather patterns relating to a changing climate, labor shortages and the remote nature of coffee growing, is adding to the pressure on the world’s coffee-growing communities.

From iced coffees and mochas to lattes and cappuccinos, we want all our customers to be able to enjoy great-tasting coffee, now and long into the future. We’re part of the global movement to ensure coffee is grown and traded in ways that support communities and their land. To this end, we made a commitment to serve 100% of our coffee from sources supporting sustainable production by 2020.

Our first Coffee Sustainability Report (pdf, 3.1MB), released in 2016, shows our journey so far.


On this page:

Our approach | Our actions | Our goals and progress


Our approach


Sourcing coffee certified to international sustainability standards such as UTZ, Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance is key to our strategy. In parallel with our certification work, we’ve also launched the McCafé Sustainability Improvement Platform (SIP) in partnership with Conservation International. These two approaches are complementary efforts, and we will continue to support both certification and direct engagement with farmers as methods to achieve positive impacts.

In 2017, 54% of our coffee was sourced sustainably through Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Fair Trade International and Fair Trade USA certification, as well as McCafé SIP-approved programs.

Our work on sustainable coffee supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a global agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, specifically:


As well as these, we’ve mapped our Scale for Good initiatives to all 17 goals.


What is McCafé SIP?

The McCafé Sustainability Improvement Platform (SIP) was launched in partnership with Conservation International in 2016, as a framework to engage and guide our coffee supply chain in sustainable sourcing, as well as investing in coffee growers and their communities over the long term. McCafé SIP is not intended to replace certification systems and is not itself a certification system, but a means to verify positive impact at the farm level by leveraging scorecards and third-party verification systems. It also provides roasters, who supply our coffee, with guidance across four key elements they must achieve in order to have a SIP-approved program.






Transparency – understanding who grows our coffee and identifying all farms participating in a SIP-approved program.



Producer collaboration – identifying farmers’ needs and collaborating with local partners to provide relevant training and tools.



Measured performance – tracking progress against globally recognized indicators for sustainable coffee production.



Assurance – verifying data through third-party audits.


Through McCafé SIP, we have better information about the farmers growing our coffee, which is verified by third-parties. We’re also enabling roasters to leverage their expertise and relationships at origin to innovate and advance sustainable farming practices. We’re already seeing great results. Roaster-led programs are providing farmers with access to training and agronomists, helping them take better care of their land and increase their overall productivity and the quality of their coffee. For example, in the Cerrado biome of Minas Gerais in Brazil, coffee farmers participating in a training program reported an 80% reduction in the use of agrochemicals, while productivity rose by 10%.


“McDonald’s is becoming a global leader in serving sustainable coffee that is good for farmers, good for nature and good for its customers. The commitment of an industry giant like McDonald’s marks an important step in our work to make coffee the world’s first fully sustainable agricultural product.”

Peter Seligmann, Founder and Chairman of Conservation International

Our actions


A better deal for Guatemala’s growers

Together with our Franchisees, McDonald’s U.S. and Canada invested more than $6 million to support coffee growers in Guatemala between 2012 and 2016. Partnering with TechnoServe, an international nonprofit that develops business solutions to poverty, we trained over 15,000 farmers in sustainable coffee-growing practices. Farmers completing the training in 2016 reported coffee bean yields on average 45% higher than those of neighboring farmers, despite difficult weather conditions and widespread coffee rust disease.

We also worked with the Sustainable Commodities Assistance Network (SCAN) to establish a formal training curriculum, available globally on both the SCAN and UN websites.


“The work McDonald’s is supporting with smallholder coffee farmers in Central America has been best-in-class, and McDonald’s dedication to sustainability has made a positive, lasting difference on the lives of thousands of farmers.”

William Warshauer, President and CEO of TechnoServe

The Sustainable Coffee Challenge

We’ve been working with Conservation International for 25 years to help advance global agricultural sustainability. Our latest collaboration is in the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, which aims to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product. Through the scheme, we’ll be uniting with other key industry players – retailers, roasters, industry associations and non-governmental organizations – to help make the changes needed to transform the industry. This means:

  • Supporting the prosperity and well-being of coffee-farming communities.
  • Protecting the environment – particularly forest, water and soil conservation.
  • Sustaining the supply of quality coffee to meet future demand.


Compost from coffee grounds

McDonald’s uses tons of coffee grounds and espresso beans every year to make the coffee our customers love. Rather than sending these heavy grounds to the landfill, coffee grounds can be used in arboretums, school gardens and backyards to improve garden soil! This is an example of how we’re gradually eliminating waste in our restaurants.

Learn more about coffee grounds recycling in this video.


Our goals and progress



100% of coffee verified as supporting sustainable production by 2020.



In 2017, 54% of our coffee (64% of restaurant coffee globally and 11% of U.S. and Canada retail coffee) was sourced sustainably through Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Fair Trade International and Fair Trade USA certification, as well as McCafé SIP-approved programs.

Further context: Our total global volumes of sustainably sourced coffee increased during this time by 13%, but the overall global percentage of sustainably sourced coffee decreased by 2% between 2016 and 2017, from 56% to 54%. This is because our global coffee volumes as a whole increased by 16% during this period. Even with these volume increases, we are still on track to achieve our 2020 target for 100% of coffee verified as supporting sustainable production and our 2018 forests goal that all coffee from high-deforestation risk regions will be sourced from Rainforest Alliance-Certified farms.



By 2018, all coffee from high-deforestation risk regions will be sourced from Rainforest Alliance-Certified farms.


Progress in certification

In 2017, 47% of coffee grown in high-deforestation risk countries was Rainforest Alliance certified, and we are on target to achieve this goal by 2018. Coffee from high-deforestation risk countries made up <6% of our global supply in 2017.