McDonald’s Corp., Oak Brook, Ill., announced plans to partner with franchisees and suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 36% by 2030 from a 2015 base year in a new strategy to address global climate change. Additionally, McDonald’s commits to a 31% 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).
Through these actions, McDonald’s expects to prevent 150 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere by 2030. 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.
“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,” says Steve Easterbrook, president and CEO. “To meet this goal, we will source our food responsibly, promote renewable energy and use it efficiently and reduce waste and increase recycling.”
To reach its target, McDonald’s will work across its supply chain, offices and restaurants to be more innovative and efficient through improvements such as LED lighting, energy efficient kitchen equipment, sustainable packaging, restaurant recycling and elevating and supporting sustainable agriculture practices. In collaboration with thousands of franchisees, suppliers and producers, McDonald’s will prioritize action on the largest segments of its carbon footprint—beef production, restaurant energy usage and sourcing, packaging and waste. These segments combined account for approximately 64% of McDonald’s global emissions.
Building on the momentum of existing programs on forests, agriculture and energy efficiency, McDonald’s and its partners will continue to identify practical solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bring them to scale. In its commitment to transparency, McDonald’s will expand its measurement systems, and annually communicate about progress, challenges and milestones.
McDonald’s work to care for the planet and communities spans nearly three decades, including the establishment of a partnership with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), New York, on packaging and waste reduction. More recently, in 2014, McDonald’s released an Energy and Climate Position Statement, establishing the company’s view on taking effective, collaborative action to tackle climate change. Additionally, in 2015, McDonald’s developed a Commitment on Forests that addresses supply chain impacts on deforestation. This strengthened the foundation of the company’s climate strategy, as deforestation accounts for an estimated 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And, earlier this year, McDonald’s announced goals to improve its packaging and help significantly reduce waste.
The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a collaboration between World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C., World Wildlife Fund, Switzerland, CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), UK, and the United Nations Global Compact.