We care aboutConserving Forests

We’re committed to eliminating deforestation from our global supply chains, and promoting responsible forestry and production practices that benefit people, communities and the planet. We bring our suppliers on board with clear principles and programs.



Why it matters

People, plants and animals rely on forests for food, fresh water, resources and shelter. Forests also play a vital role in absorbing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and creating oxygen. But forests around the world are under threat from deforestation and forest degradation.

In fact, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization states that 18 million acres of forest – an area equivalent to Ireland – are being destroyed each year. Deforestation is estimated to account for 15% of global GHGs, and is a real risk to our business, our supply chain and our customers.


On this page:

Our approach | Our actions | Our goals and progress


Our approach


Our aim is to eliminate deforestation from our global supply chains. The Company’s 2015 Commitment on Forests (pdf, 350KB) and its supporting addendum (pdf, 491KB) set out our vision to achieve this, starting by 2020 with raw materials that we buy in the greatest volume and where we can have the biggest impact – beef, chicken (including soy in feed), palm oil, coffee and the fiber used in customer packaging. Our commitment also extends beyond forests, to areas of high conservation value, and to the individuals and communities around the world who depend on forests.

Working with our suppliers

We expect our suppliers to operate their businesses ethically and abide by all applicable laws and regulations. Additionally, we work throughout our supply chains to ensure the following principles:

  • 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 use of best management practices for existing commodity production on peatlands.
  • Respect human rights.
  • Respect the rights 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 land rights disputes through a balanced and transparent dispute resolution process.
  • Verify origin of raw material production.
  • Support smallholders, farmers, plantation owners and suppliers to comply with this commitment.

Our work on protecting forests 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.


Our actions


Partnering to end deforestation

To achieve our goals, we must work in partnership with others – suppliers, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other key stakeholders. We are a signatory to the New York Declaration on Forests (pdf, 786KB), a shared commitment from some of the world’s most influential countries, companies and NGOs to help end deforestation by 2030, and to eliminate deforestation from private-sector supply chains of agricultural commodities such as beef, soy, palm oil and paper products by 2020.

We also engage with a range of industry organizations and forums to identify solutions. These include:

  • Accountability Framework – We support this group of NGOs working to create common definitions on deforestation, and we contributed to the first round of stakeholder feedback.
  • AgroTools – We’re mapping the farms our suppliers purchase beef from in Brazil through advance monitoring technology, which tells us the location of every farm in our beef supply chain in Brazil. We’re also developing systems and criteria to monitor our progress.
  • CDP Forests – In addition to our annual CDP Forests report, the Company joined CDP Supply Chain Forests group as a founding member in 2017, alongside one of our largest Franchisees Arcos Dorados.
  • Collaboration for Forests and Agriculture (CFA) – The focus areas of this work (beef and soy in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado, and the Gran Chaco in Argentina and Paraguay) align closely with our sourcing regions and products. We are providing feedback to its framework and actively working to support solutions that help protect forests and native vegetation in the Amazon, Cerrado and Chaco.
  • Good Growth Partnership – We’re actively engaged in this collaboration between the UN Development Program, the Global Environment Facility, the International Finance Cooperation, World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International.
  • Proforest – We’re partnering with these responsible sourcing specialists 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.
  • Tropical Forests Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) and its Latin America Working Group – A global public-private partnership in which McDonald’s is taking voluntary actions to reduce the tropical deforestation associated with the sourcing of commodities such as palm oil, soy, beef, and paper and pulp.
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – We’re prioritizing our actions based on the 11 deforestation fronts, as defined by the WWF Living Forests Report, and as participants of WWF's Global Forest & Trade Network.

Conserving forests requires partnership throughout the supply chain and across governments, nonprofit organizations, and companies. McDonald’s is active in many multi-stakeholder dialogues to bring attention to forests and help drive action toward our goals.


“McDonald’s is taking significant steps to avoid deforestation and forest degradation in sourcing key commodities. While this is a journey that requires a long-term vision, these goals and progress are important steps forward in addressing issues that are key to McDonald’s business and value chain.”

Linda Walker, WWF-US Director of Responsible Forestry and Trade


Protecting biodiversity in the Amazon

The Amazon basin contains the world’s largest rainforest, a highly sensitive biome that is rapidly becoming a global success story in the fight against deforestation and forest degradation. In 2016, as part of our commitment to sustainable sourcing of soy for chicken feed, we actively supported the indefinite extension of the Brazilian Soy Moratorium, a landmark agreement between industry, government and people to prevent major traders selling soy linked to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.

In line with our journey toward beef sustainability, McDonald’s and Arcos Dorados, our Franchisee in Latin America, are also working with the Brazilian Roundtable on Sustainable Livestock, local NGOs and industry partners to help eliminate deforestation in the Amazon Biome, and to meet the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef principles and criteria.

With a target to restore 10,000 hectares of degraded land to improved pastures, the Novo Campo Program focuses on the recovery of degraded pastures and improvements in animal management, protecting the area’s biodiverse ecosystems. Through Arcos Dorados, we’ve now begun purchasing a portion of our beef verified as sustainable, helping conserve vital areas of forest. The project has also achieved a 25% reduction in on-farm GHG emissions in under two years.


“McDonald’s continues to engage suppliers and align the entire supply chain to ensure that beef is responsibly sourced while conserving the precious Amazon ecosystem. McDonald’s has taken the lead in becoming the first to monitor where beef is sourced, using the best-known deforestation monitoring method currently implemented by AgroTools TerraSafe.”

Fernando Martins, CEO AgroTools

Our goals and progress




Eliminate deforestation in supply chains for our beef, chicken (including soy in feed), palm oil, coffee and the fiber used in customer packaging by 2020.

Eliminate deforestation from our global supply chain by 2030.


Progress in Beef Sourcing

The first step for the Company was to identify the list of countries that the Company currently sources beef from that have a high deforestation risk, as defined based on WWF Living Forests report. We are working with these countries and our suppliers, alongside expert consultants including The World Wildlife Fund, Proforest and Agrotools to identify tailored risk mapping and implementation plans for these identified regions.

We’re also engaged in multi-stakeholder groups to address these issues, including:


Progress in Chicken Sourcing

We are committed to sourcing soy for chicken feed that does not contribute to deforestation, and we have identified the regions where we source soy that have high deforestation risks. In 2017, approximately 65% of the soy volumes used in the feed of chickens supplied to our restaurants in Europe was covered by a combination of ProTerra or Roundtable on Responsible Soy certification. 

In October 2017, we, along with 23 other global companies, launched a statement of support (pdf, 44KB) for the objectives of the Cerrado Manifesto (pdf, 400KB), reaffirming our individual and collective commitment to halting forest loss associated with agricultural commodity production and recognizing the critically important role played by the Cerrado for its role in climate change mitigation, biodiversity, water and agricultural production. We currently serve on the Steering Committee for the group.


Progress in Palm Oil Sourcing

Our aim is to have all palm oil used in our restaurants and as ingredients in McDonald’s globally managed products to be verified as supporting sustainable production, through a combination of certification, traceability and risk mapping. In 2017, 100% of palm oil used globally for restaurant cooking or by our suppliers to par-fry chicken, potato and globally managed bakery and sauce products, was certified as supporting sustainable production. Our volumes of mass balance certified oils increased from 11.6% in 2016 to 36% in 2017.

By Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) chain of custody system:

  • 63% verified using book and claim certificates (the minimum level of verification currently required according to our palm oil policy).
  • 36% Mass Balance
  • 1% Segregated
  • 0.2%  Identity Preserved

We are committed to further shift our palm oil toward RSPO Mass Balance certified and RSPO segregated. Our suppliers are expected to be active members of the RSPO and report through the RSPO Annual Communications of Progress, as well as have a policy in place to conserve forests.


Progress in Fiber Sourcing

By 2020, all virgin fiber for our guest packaging sourced from high-deforestation risk regions will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, and the Company will also maintain its preference for FSC-certified virgin fiber from other regions. The FSC standard prohibits deforestation, including conversion of natural forests to plantations. As of 2017, 70% of McDonald’s fiber-based guest packaging comes from third-party verified recycled or certified fiber (FSC, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification ™ or PEFC-endorsed) sources.


Progress in Coffee Sourcing

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.


1. In order to better focus our efforts, we have mapped out and identified a list of countries that have a high deforestation risk, as defined in the WWF Living Forests report, and that we currently are sourcing from: Fiber – Argentina, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Russia and Vietnam. Coffee – Honduras, Indonesia and Vietnam. Palm oil – Indonesia and Malaysia. Soy – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay. Beef – Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay.