McDonald’s sets five ‘pillars’ for sustainability framework
by Eric Schroeder
OAK BROOK, Ill. — For the first time, McDonald’s Corp. is placing an emphasis on specific, measurable sustainability improvements.
The fast-food chain, which has issued a Corporate Sustainability Report every year or two, on April 30 issued its first report to contain a framework with aspirational goals it would like to achieve by 2020. The framework is in contrast to reports of the past, which have steered clear of setting specific targets.
“We’ve worked diligently to develop this CSR & Sustainability Framework focused on five key areas — food, sourcing, planet, people and community,” J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, senior vice president of global CSR, sustainability and philanthropy at McDonald’s, noted in the report. “These pillars are central to our commitment to create shared value for our business and society.
“In the course of developing this blueprint for our work in the area of CSR and sustainability, we’ve methodically developed distinct, forward-looking goals,” Gonzalez-Mendez added. “These goals will serve to focus us on a long-term view of the social and environmental business imperatives that will help shape our future. McDonald’s is working system-wide to meet or exceed these goals.”
McDonald’s has established long-term, measurable goals for three of its five CSR and sustainability pillars.
In food, McDonald’s has set a 2020 goal of serving 100 percent more fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy or whole grains in nine of its top markets (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, United States). The fast-food chain also plans to develop goals in 2015 for the nine markets to reduce salt/sodium, sugar, saturated fat or calories across the menu by 2020.
“Evolving to meet the preferences of our customers is critical to our success at McDonald’s,” Erik Hess, senior vice-president of global consumer insights, menu and brand strategy, said in the report. “We know that quality, choice and nutrition are increasingly important to customers, and we’re committed to continuously meeting their needs.”
In sourcing, McDonald’s said it will lead development of global principles and criteria in 2014 to support sustainable production of beef, with plans to develop goals and begin purchasing verified sustainable beef by 2016. Also by 2020, the company plans to have 100 percent of its coffee, palm oil and fish verified as supporting sustainable production, and 100 percent of its fiber-based packaging from certified or recycled sources.
“I am so excited about our strategy because I believe we have a real opportunity to mainstream sustainable beef globally,” said Francesca Debiase, vice president of strategic sourcing, worldwide supply chain management. “Our goal is to be a leader in this area and to be the first in our industry to purchase externally verified sustainable beef around the world, but we cannot do this alone. Our partnership with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef — as well as our work with beef suppliers and farmers — will ensure that what we develop can be practically realized at the farm level.”
A third pillar with 2020 aspirational goals is planet. McDonald’s has targeted a 20-percent increase in energy efficiency of company-owned restaurants in seven of its top-nine markets (excluding Brazil and Japan) by 2020, with plans to develop franchisee goals in 2016. McDonald’s also this year will begin developing goals to increase energy efficiency through restaurant standards in its top nine markets, and by 2020 plans to increase the amount of in-restaurant recycling to 50 percent and minimize waste.
“Over my more than 25 years at McDonald’s, I have seen firsthand how we can capitalize on the power of the system — across over 35,000 restaurants — to drive shared value across our business, franchisees, and suppliers,” said Ken Koziol, executive vice president and global chief restaurant officer. “As we progress toward our 2020 vision, we have the chance to apply practical, environmental solutions to our operations that not only do good for the business, but do good for the planet, and ultimately do good for the brand.”
McDonald’s said in the report it can’t guarantee it will achieve the stated aspirational goals by 2020, but stressed it is committed “to putting forth good-faith efforts to make progress towards these goals, to report on an annual basis tangible progress and measurements, where possible, and to explain both successes and challenges along this journey.”
For the full report, visit www.aboutmcdonalds.com