McDonald’s to Cut GHG Emissions 40% By 2030

McDonald's to Cut GHG Emissions 40% By 2030
iStock/Johnnieshin

Fast food giant McDonald’s says it’s taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint. The chain with 40,000 locations around the world says it will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions at both restaurants and its offices by 2030 by nearly 40 percent from 2015 numbers.

According to McDonald’s, which made the announcement earlier this week, this shift will result in the reduction of 150 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (165 million tons), about the same as taking more than 30 million cars off the road.

“We’re taking action we care about and customers really appreciate,” McDonald’s Corp. CEO Steve Easterbrook, said in a statement.

The fast-food giant notes that it will start reevaluating its three main sources of energy use: beef production, energy use at restaurants, and packaging. In total, those three areas account for more than 60 percent of McDonald’s emissions.

“To reduce emissions at cattle farms, suppliers are testing a new way to feed cattle: moving animals from pen to pen, so the soil the cows stand on as they eat grass has a chance to recover,” notes the Chicago Tribune. “Healthier soil can better absorb carbon, the company said, meaning less of it will end up in the air.”

But there’s also speculation that the chain may move toward promoting cleaner protein sources to its current customers and in a bid to attract new customers, primarily Millennials seeking healthier, more ethical, and vegan options. After the highly successful launch of the McVegan in Scandinavia last year, and an increasing demand for clean, plant-based proteins in the U.S., the chain could soon add a product like the Beyond Burger to its menu — a pea-protein-based patty that looks, cooks, and tastes like a fast food beef burger.

The chain will also work to replace light bulbs and appliances with more energy efficient options, as well as swap out product packaging with more eco-friendly options.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.