OAK BROOK, Ill.—McDonald's has taken a series of steps since 2011 to fulfill its goal to purchase verified sustainable beef in 2016.
McDonald's began collaborating with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Cargill, JBS and others in 2011 to develop the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). GRSB established guiding principles and practices for sustainable beef, which, according to a statement on McDonald's website, is a first for the industry.
In 2013, from farm to fork across the company's worldwide supply chain and restaurants, about 70% of McDonald's greenhouse gas emission impacts were in the supply chain, and of those, around 40% were related to beef.
To ensure more sustainable methods in the future, McDonald's developed a 3-part plan. The company will support development of global principles and criteria in 2014; develop targets for purchasing verified sustainable beef; and begin purchasing verified sustainable beef during 2016.
McDonald's will use a verifiable productions system to ensure beef will come from farmers and processors who create economic value and nutritious protein. This system aims to optimize cattle's impact within ecosystems and nutrient cycles and care for the welfare of the cattle throughout their lives. Also, farmers and processors should positively impact the communities in which they operate.
To achieve its goals, McDonald's plans to create principles for sustainable production as well as identify and test sustainable beef production practices.