The new commitment will require suppliers use only agricultural raw materials for the company’s food and packaging that originate from land that is managed using sustainable practices. The initiative will initially focus on beef, poultry, coffee, palm oil and packaging.
“McDonald’s serves customers around the world, and we accept the responsibility that comes with our global presence,” said Jim Skinner, chief executive officer. “We will continue to focus our energy on developing sustainable sourcing practices and broadening our menu choices. Each year we set goals that challenge us to put our resources toward strengthening communities and helping maintain a world that can carry all of us well into the future.”
As a part of the effort the company is also working with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef to improve the sustainability of beef production as well as sponsoring and piloting a three-year beef farm study to investigate carbon emissions on beef farms. Additionally, the company is joining the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and the Sustainability Consortium.
This past October, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, Ark., announced its plans to extend its sustainability efforts to improve agriculture production practices around the world. The effort includes three broad components, including supporting farmers and their communities; producing more food with fewer resources and less waste; and sustainably sourcing key agricultural products.
To support farmers and their communities, Wal-Mart outlined several initiatives such as a commitment to sell $1 billion in food sourced from 1 million small and medium farmers. Within the United States, the company said it intends to double its sale of locally sourced produce and increase its purchase of select U.S. crops. The company defined the term local as crops grown within a state and sold within a state.
The world’s largest retailer is focusing on the agriculture supply chain in the same manner in which it approached its own supply chain. When the company announced its initial sustainability initiative five years ago it focused on removing waste from its supply chain to improve efficiencies. In its effort to produce more food with fewer resources and less waste the company plans to follow a similar pattern.
By this year Wal-Mart expects its largest growers to provide it with detailed analyses of their production practices, drilling down to specifics such as how much fertilizer and water are used to produce a specific crop.
In its effort to sustainably source key agricultural products, Wal-Mart will focus on two specific products initially: palm oil and beef. The company announced that by 2015 all of its private label products will only use sustainably sourced palm oil.
The retailer also plans to expand its existing practice in Wal-Mart Brazil of only sourcing beef that does not contribute to the deforestation of the Amazon to all of its companies by the end of 2015. The company said 60% of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is related to cattle ranching expansion.