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McDonald’s Targets Greenhouse Gas Emissions


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McDonald’s is working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as news drops that the famed Pacific Ocean garbage patch has grown to twice the size of Texas. McDonald’s is partnering with franchisees and suppliers to reduce its system-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent by 2030. Also included with the announcement is a commitment to reduce emissions intensity (per metric ton of food and packaging) by 31 percent across its supply chain.

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.

“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 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.

“Environmental progress doesn’t just happen, it takes bold leadership from all of us,” said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund. “As one of the best known brands on the planet, McDonald’s is well positioned to lead, and its ambitious new climate target will inspire innovation, collaboration, and most importantly critical greenhouse gas reductions across the company’s global operations and supply chain.”  

“McDonald's footprint touches all parts of the world. Their announcement matters because it commits one of the world’s biggest companies to deliver, with the full breadth of their food chain system, significant emissions reductions based on science. It also coincides with their decision to join the We Are Still In coalition with thousands of other companies across the U.S.,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund in the United States. “While private-sector actions can’t entirely solve the climate crisis facing our planet, significant announcements like these, and coalitions like these working on climate together, create momentum and movement toward the scale of solutions that we ultimately need.”

The launch of this science-based target is the latest step in McDonald’s journey to drive meaningful change and use its scale for good.

“McDonald’s is delivering a strong statement by becoming the first restaurant company to set a science-based greenhouse gas emissions target. McDonald’s leaders understand that you don’t have to grow emissions to grow as a company,” said Andrew Steer, president and CEO, World Resources Institute, one of the Science Based Targets initiative partners. “By working with suppliers to design and scale more sustainable farming practices and reducing waste, McDonald’s will chart a path that is better for its franchise, customers and the environment. WRI urges McDonald’s to look for additional opportunities to align their business model and value chain with the realities of a resource-constrained world. We stand ready to support the company in pursuing strategies that lead to healthier consumers and a more sustainable planet.”

The Science Based Targets initiative is a collaboration between WRI, WWF, CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) and the United Nations Global Compact, which helps companies determine how much they must cut emissions to do their part to address climate change.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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