McDonald’s sets pioneering greenhouse gas emission reduction targets

Jasmine Lee-Zogbessou 20th March 2018 (Last Updated March 20th, 2018 11:49)

McDonald’s has become the first restaurant company to set science-based targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as part of a new strategy to target global climate change.

McDonald’s sets pioneering greenhouse gas emission reduction targets
McDonald’s becomes the first restaurant to set a greenhouse gas reduction target. Credit: PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images.

McDonald’s has become the first restaurant company to set science-based targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as part of a new strategy to target global climate change.

The fast-casual chain will partner with franchisees and suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its 37,000 locations by 36% by 2030 from a 2015 base year and reduce its emissions intensity—per metric ton of food and packaging—by 31% across its supply chain.

McDonald’s expects to prevent 150 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from being released, which is the equivalent to 32 million cars being off the road for one year or planting 3.8 billion trees and sustaining them for 10 years.

McDonald’s president and CEO Steve Eastbrook said: “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.

“To meet this goal, we will source our food responsibly, promote renewable energy and use it efficiently, and reduce waste and increase recycling.”

The chain will attempt to meet its goal through introducing LED lighting, energy efficient kitchen equipment, sustainable packaging and recycling in its restaurants, supply chain and offices. It will also elevate and support sustainable agriculture practices.

McDonald’s will target the largest sections of its carbon footprint, including beef production, restaurant energy usage and sourcing, packaging and waste, which account for approximately 64% of its global emissions.

Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp said: “Environmental progress doesn’t just happen, it takes bold leadership from all of us.

“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 previously partnered with Environmental Defense Fund on packaging and waste reduction and developed a Commitment on Forests in 2015 to address supply chain impacts on deforestation, which impacts 15% of global greenhouse emissions.

World Wildlife Fund president and CEO Carter Roberts said: “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.”