OAK BROOK, Ill. — McDonald’s has announced that it will partner with franchisees and suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to its restaurants and offices by 36 percent by 2030 from a 2015 base year in a new strategy to address global climate change.
Additionally, the company said that it has committed to a 31 percent reduction in emissions intensity (per metric ton of food and packaging) across its supply chain by 2030 from 2015 levels. McDonald’s notes that this combined target has been approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative.
Through these actions, McDonald’s expects to prevent 150 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere by 2030. This is the equivalent of taking 32 million passenger cars off the road for an entire year or planting 3.8 billion trees and growing them for 10 years, the company said.
“To create a better future for our planet, we must all get involved. McDonald’s is doing its part by setting this ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address the challenge of global climate change,” said Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s president and CEO, who announced the plan in a video released by the company. “To meet this goal, we will source our food responsibly, promote renewable energy and use it efficiently, and reduce waste and increase recycling.”
To reach its target, McDonald’s said it will work across its supply chain, offices and restaurants to be more innovative and efficient through improvements such as LED lighting, energy efficient kitchen equipment, sustainable packaging, restaurant recycling, and by elevating and supporting sustainable agriculture practices.
In collaboration with thousands of franchisees, suppliers and producers, McDonald’s will prioritize action on the largest segments of its carbon footprint: beef production, restaurant energy usage and sourcing, packaging and waste. These segments combined, account for approximately 64 percent of McDonald’s global emissions.
Building on the momentum of existing programs on forests, agriculture and energy efficiency, McDonald’s and its partners will continue to identify practical solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bring them to scale. In its commitment to transparency, McDonald’s will expand its measurement systems, and annually communicate about progress, challenges and milestones, the company noted.
McDonald’s work to care for the planet and communities spans nearly three decades, including the establishment of a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund on packaging and waste reduction. More recently, in 2014, McDonald’s released an energy and climate position statement, establishing the company’s view on taking effective, collaborative action to tackle climate change. Additionally, in 2015, McDonald’s developed a commitment on forests that addresses supply chain impacts on deforestation. This strengthened the foundation of the company’s climate strategy as deforestation accounts for an estimated 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the company added.
McDonald’s has also announced that it is setting goals to improve its packaging to help reduce waste.
By 2025, 100 percent of McDonald’s guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources, the company noted, adding that, also by 2025, the company intends to recycle guest packaging in 100 percent of its restaurants. This expands upon McDonald’s existing goal that by 2020, 100 percent of fiber-based packaging will come from recycled or certified sources where no deforestation occurs.
“As the world’s largest restaurant company, we have a responsibility to use our scale for good to make changes that will have a meaningful impact across the globe,” said Francesca DeBiase, McDonald’s chief supply chain and sustainability officer. “Our customers have told us that packaging waste is the top environmental issue they would like us to address. Our ambition is to make changes our customers want and to use less packaging, sourced responsibly and designed to be taken care of after use, working at and beyond our restaurants to increase recycling and help create cleaner communities.”
Currently, 50 percent of McDonald’s customer packaging comes from renewable, recycled or certified sources and 64 percent of fiber-based packaging comes from certified or recycled sources. Also, an estimated 10 percent of McDonald’s restaurants globally are recycling customer packaging.
“We look forward to doing more and continuing to raise the bar on what it means to be a responsible company committed to people and the planet,” DeBiase said.