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McDonald's Sets Out New Climate Ambitions

Published on Oct 6 2021 1:00 PM in Restaurant tagged: Bord Bia / McDonald's / Science Based Targets Initiative / net zero emissions / Paris Agreement / Plan for Change

McDonald's Sets Out New Climate Ambitions

McDonald's Corporation has announced its global commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The move will include science-based emissions reduction targets and will see it join the SBTi Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign and the United Nations Race to Zero campaign. 

McDonald's Plan For Change

McDonald’s UK & Ireland will be leading the company’s global effort with the launch today of its Plan for Change - a comprehensive business and sustainability strategy to help it achieve its aim of net zero emissions across its entire UK and Ireland business by 2040.

The plan sets out ambitious goals and actions across its four key areas - Planet, People, Restaurants and Food - to ensure the business leads positive change from farms to front counter. 

The Plan for Change includes the steps McDonald’s UK and Ireland is taking both now, and in the future, alongside clear deadlines and commitments as it looks to go further to support the planet and the communities it serves.  

Several initiatives are already underway, including the development of McDonald's first restaurant built to a UK industry net zero emissions standard in Shropshire.

When the restaurant opens next month, it will be a first for the UK industry and will act as a blueprint for future new builds. 

McDonald's UK and Ireland has also set a target to ensure customer packaging is made from renewable, recycled or certified sources and designed to berecyclable or compostable, by 2024.  

The Plan for Change will also see McDonald's UK and Ireland go even further to offer its customers more choice.

A new Nutrition Innovation Council will develop more balanced options without compromising on taste.

The business has also set an ambition to offer customers market leading vegan plant-based food and drink, beginning with the recent launch of its 100% vegan McPlant burger.  

Zero Emissions Target

McDonald's has outlined a number of goals to meet on the way to achieving net zero emissions.

Planet: Aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 across McDonald's UK & Ireland entire business and value chainwhich includes using soy in ingredients and the animal feed in its supply chain that is deforestation free by 2026. 

People: Champion great people, whatever their background by helping one million people gain new skills and open doors to jobs by 2030. As part of this, McDonald’s UK & Ireland will support local communities by providing a youth worker into every Ireland restaurant by 2024. This will make a real difference to young people by giving them confidence and skills and helping them make the most of their potential.

Restaurants: From 2022 launch our first net zero emissions standard restaurant and create a blueprint for freehold new builds. We will aim to transition all our restaurants to a net zero emissions standard from construction to use. By 2023, furniture in new and refurbished restaurants will be made from recycled or certified materials that can be recycled or reused at end of life.

Food: Go even further to source quality, sustainable ingredients and support its suppliers, including investing in sector-leading research through a new Sustainable Beef Network. By 2023, McDonald's UK& Ireland will develop a new scorecard, in collaboration with independent experts, to expand and embed ethical and sustainability criteria in its sourcing decisions. 

Paul Pomroy, chief executive, McDonald's UK & Ireland said, "McDonald's has a long history of taking action where it really matters to the communities we serve. But we are at a moment now where we need to accelerate our ambition and work even harder to look after each other and the planet. This new Plan for Change is not just our sustainability strategy, it’s our business priority. That means it isn’t a plan for one change, but for many - changes that together, with1,400 restaurants, over 130,000 people, 23,000 Irish and British farmers and 4 million customers visiting every day, really will add up."

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine Martin Heydon TD said. "Food Vision 2030 sets an ambition for Ireland to be a world leader in sustainable food systems by 2030.  In that context, it is encouraging to see a leading company such as McDonald's Ireland making a clear commitment towards the climate agenda and long-term positive change. For many years McDonald's has invested in sourcing food from Bord Bia sustainable quality assured Irish farmers, and this commitment will continue through its new Plan for Change. I am encouraged to see that the initiatives outlined in this ambitious plan will also support 7,000 Irish farm suppliers from across all sectors."

Measures In Place

The Plan for Change builds on the moves McDonald's UK & Ireland has made over the last two decades to help reduce its impact on the planet 

These include buying only renewable electricity for use in its restaurants, turning cooking oil into fuel for its delivery trucks, and rolling out electric vehicle charge points. 

McDonald's Ireland has also been sourcing responsibly for over 20 years, with its menu already including Bord Bia quality assured: beef, free range eggs and pork, along with 100% Irish organic milk, MSC-certified fish and Rainforest Alliance certified coffee.

CEO of Bord Bia Tara McCarthy said, "McDonald's Plan for Change has set this ambition because it is increasingly clear that, collectively, we need to prioritise climate change and its effect on the environment. From a consumer point of view, we are aware there is a growing need for reassurance regarding the provenance and quality of the food we eat. Knowing there is a sustainable supply chain in place is increasingly equally important. 

"Bord Bia's recent Global Sustainability Survey of over 11,000 consumers and 125 trade buyers across 13 key markets demonstrated, not only the increasing importance of sustainability, but also the growing importance of evidence and data to back up sustainability claims. Origin Green verified Irish farmers and food producers understand the crucial role they play in promoting sustainable practices to significantly reduce their carbon footprint, while also defending the Irish agri-food sector."

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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