McDonald’s has announced its global commitment to achieving net-zero emissions.

It said that 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 UN Race to Zero campaign. 

McDonald’s UK and Ireland will be leading the company’s global effort with the launch this week 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”. 

McDonald’s in Shropshire

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 said it will “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 and Ireland intends to develop a new scorecard, in collaboration with independent experts, to “expand and embed ethical and sustainability criteria in its sourcing decisions”. 

It has also set a target to ensure customer packaging is made from renewable, recycled or certified sources and designed to be recyclable or compostable, by 2024. 

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

The business is also going to offer customers plant-based food and drink, beginning with the recent launch of its McPlant burger.  

7,000 Irish farm suppliers

Paul Pomroy, chief executive, McDonald’s UK and Ireland said that the plan 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, with 1,400 restaurants, over 130,000 people, 23,000 Irish and British farmers and four million customers visiting every day, really will add up,” Pomroy added.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon added that he is “encouraged to see that the initiatives outlined in this ambitious plan will support 7,000 Irish farm suppliers from across all sectors”.

CEO of Bord Bia Tara McCarthy said that 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,” McCarthy said.