McDonald's is the first QSR to set approved science-based target for greenhouse gas reduction.
OAK BROOK, Ill. – McDonald’s Corp. announced plans to work with suppliers and franchisees to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to office and restaurant operations by 36 percent by 2030 using 2015 as the baseline year. The company’s new strategy to address climate change also includes a commitment to a 31 percent reduction in emissions intensity (per metric ton of food and packaging) across its supply chain by 2030 from 2015 levels. This combined target has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

McDonald’s expects the actions to prevent 150 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from release into the atmosphere. According to the company, 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. McDonald’s plans on using the strategy to grow its business without growing its emissions.

“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,” Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “To meet this goal, we will source our food responsibly, promote renewable energy and use it efficiently, and reduce waste and increase recycling.” He announced the plan in a video released by the company.

McDonald’s will work across its supply chain, offices and restaurants to be more innovative and reach its goal. Innovations will include things such as LED lighting, energy efficient kitchen equipment, sustainable packaging, restaurant recycling, and by elevating and supporting sustainable agriculture practices. Franchisees, suppliers and producers will make the carbon reduction footprint a priority stressing segments such as beef production, restaurant energy usage and sourcing, packaging and waste. These segments combined, account for approximately 64 percent of McDonald’s global emissions.

McDonald’s released its 2020 goals for beef sustainability in 2017. These laid out the next steps for collaboration with beef producers and industry partners to proactively identify, share and scale beef production’s most sustainable practices.

Environmental organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund and the World Resources Institute have applauded McDonald’s for its commitment to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.