McDonald’s Commits to Science-Based Targets to Reduce Greenhouse-Gas Emissions

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OAK BROOK, Ill. — McDonald’s is partnering with franchisees and suppliers to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions related to McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 36 per cent by 2030 (from a 2015 base year) as part of a new strategy to address global climate change.

The company is also committing to a 31-per-cent 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) — becoming the first restaurant company to science-based emission targets.

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. The target will enable McDonald’s to grow as a business without growing its emissions.

“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, McDonald’s president and CEO, who announced the plan in a video released by the company. “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 by elevating and supporting sustainable agriculture practices. The company will prioritize action on the largest segments of its carbon footprint: beef production, restaurant energy usage and sourcing, packaging and waste. Combined, these segments account for approximately 64 per cent of McDonald’s global emissions.

“McDonald’s is delivering a strong statement by becoming the first restaurant company to set a science-based greenhouse gas emissions target. McDonald’s leaders understand that you don’t have to grow emissions to grow as a company,” says Andrew Steer, president & CEO, World Resource Institute, one of the SBTi partners.

SBTi is a collaboration between World Resource Institute (WRI), WWF, CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) and the United Nations Global Compact, which helps companies determine how much they must cut emissions to do their part to address climate change, proportionate to their size.

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