OAK BROOK, Ill. – McDonald's Corporation has become a member in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Its membership represents significant progress in its commitment to source palm oil only from RSPO member companies by the end of this year, and to use only RSPO-certified palm oil in restaurants and pre-cooked chicken and potato products by 2015, the company said.

"Participating in multi-stakeholder engagements such as the RSPO is one way for us to put the power and leadership of McDonald's behind commitments to continue to source sustainable ingredients such as palm oil," said Francesca DeBiase, McDonald's vice president, Worldwide Strategic Sourcing. "Sustainability issues as they relate to food are often confusing to consumers, and we can help lead the way by educating our customers on how our food is sourced."

McDonald's uses palm oil primarily in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa and Latin America as a restaurant frying oil and as a par-fry for pre-cooking of products such as French fries, chicken patties and Chicken McNuggets.

The company’s membership in the RSPO is an extension of its Sustainable Land Management Commitment (SLMC) announced earlier in 2011. The McDonald's SLMC requires that over time, its suppliers will only use agricultural raw materials for the company's food and packaging that originate from sustainably-managed lands, ensuring the food served in its restaurants around the world is sourced from certified sustainable sources. The commitment is supported by an external, third-party evaluation process.

Based on a thorough analysis conducted in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to identify the top raw materials that have the most potential sustainability impacts, McDonald's SLMC actions initially are focused on beef, poultry, coffee, palm oil and fiber for packaging.

"We are extremely pleased that McDonald's is making significant headway in showing its commitment toward the sustainable sourcing of its food ingredients,” said Darrel Webber, RSPO Secretary General. “The fact that one of the world's largest consumer brands commits to the growth and use of sustainable palm oil is an important reflection of the increasing demand for sustainable palm oil in consumer markets.”

McDonald's membership in the RSPO reinforces the growing commitment of US-based companies to sustainable palm oil, he added. Furthermore, McDonald's pledge to source only RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil by 2015 reflects the market transformation that is currently taking place worldwide.