McDonald’s: Using scale for positive procurement

As global food leader, how is McDonald’s using their scale and influence using their suppliers to positively influence the planet?

Responsibly sourcing ingredients and materials is a critical part of the company’s climate action strategy, as they look to use their global supply operations to protect the planet and transform food systems for a more resilient future.

“Reducing emissions and adapting to climate change is critical to the success of the McDonald’s System,” says McDonalds in the Climate Action literature. “We work toward our climate action ambitions by focusing on reducing emissions in our restaurant operations, engaging suppliers to reduce emissions in supply chains, strengthening our business resilience and using our voice to advocate for collective transformation.”

Recent sourcing progress

  • 98.5% of beef sourced for McDonald’s restaurants supported deforestation-free supply chains by the end of 2022.
  • 88.8% of the fish sourced for McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish was from sustainably managed wild-caught fisheries, assessed and verified annually against the McDonald’s Sustainability Fisheries Standard by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.
  • 100% of the palm oil used in McDonald’s restaurants and as an ingredient in McDonald’s products supported the production of sustainable palm oil in 2022.
  • 100% of soy sourced in 2022 for the feed of chicken used in McDonald’s products supported deforestation-free supply chains globally.
  • 99.9% of their ground and whole bean coffee was sustainably sourced in 2022.5
  • 97.2% of their primary fibre-based guest packaging was sourced from recycled or certified sources in 2022.6

One the world’s largest buyers of beef products

McDonald’s is one of the world’s largest buyers of beef, and so have the obvious opportunity to help drive positive change across global food systems in partnership with many farmers and producers around the world. They say they are using their influence as a global business to help galvanise action and collaboration between suppliers and producers.

McDonald’s policies, standards and specifications for raw materials and finished products outline their expectations of beef suppliers. These include strict requirements for food safety and animal health and welfare, as well as employee workplace accountability. Suppliers are audited annually by third parties and must be compliant to retain their ability to supply McDonald’s.

Collaborative action

They company has already worked alongside a diverse, global network of suppliers, nongovernmental organisations and scientists for over a decade. Through these efforts, they have collaborated with farmers and ranchers to support long-term livelihoods and resiliency, as well as to embed beef farming methods that protect and maintain native landscapes, improve biodiversity and sequester carbon in soils.

Their top 10 beef sourcing markets represent more than 80% of their global beef supply chain. Working with farmers, suppliers, industry groups, academia, civil society and the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), they have helped establish multi-stakeholder roundtable groups in each of these markets, including: the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil, as well as the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability (ERBS) involving Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Poland and the U.K.

McDonald’s were a founding member of the GRSB in 2011. This brought together key stakeholders across the beef value chain to accelerate and continuously improve sustainable practices. In 2021, the GRSB set ambitious goals around reducing GHG emissions, nature-positive production and animal welfare.


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