Using McDonald's Scale for Good

As a member of the Net Impact community, you are already committed to making environmental and social change - but where and how can you be most effective?

For me and my colleagues, that place turned out to be McDonald's. Our Arches are not always synonymous with sustainability and corporate responsibility for some on the outside, but I've been nothing but inspired since I joined the company last year. Across the company and stationed around the world are experienced professionals and subject matter experts dedicated to using McDonald's Scale for Good. In their roles at McDonald's as engineers, scientists, policy analysts or business leaders, they are collaborating on projects such as sustainable packaging designs to serve our food, conservation practices to save energy in restauarants, and stakeholder partnerships on beef sustainability. 

These are big issues and big opportunities to make a difference - and now we're ramping it up.

Within the last few months McDonald's announced several major commitments to using our Scale for Good. Among them, in March 2018 we became the first restaurant company in the world to address global climate change by setting a Science Based Target to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Separately, we also pledged that by 2025, 100% of McDonald's guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources, and our goal is to recycle guest packaging in 100% of McDonald's restaurants, recognizing infrastructure challenges. 

To bring these commitments to life requires teams of people across many departments and touches all aspects of the business from executives to the supply chain and sustainability team to communications; from government relations to legal to creative. In this respect, working on sustainability projects at McDonald's takes shape with people contributing in different ways, from strategy to execution including suppy chain teams working with our suppliers to implement new programs, analyzing data to determine where we can have the greatest impact, and building strong technical and NGO partnerships. 

For example, Jenny, senior director for global sustainability, worked closely with teams from supply chain, sustainability, and restaurant operations to global menu and marketing as they shaped the overarching strategy platform and goals. Meanwhile, all these teams work with people like Claire, our senior director of U.S. public affairs, whose team led the communications effort for the global announcement about McDonald's climate action, which involved coordinating video, social media, traditional media and multiple events with stakeholder partners. 

As we shift into implementation to reach our goals, our work at McDonald's will require even more collaboration, especially with franchisees, suppliers and producers, as well as our NGO partners and other stakeholders. 

We are working to answer many questions as we turn our goals into action. What are the best ways to deploy renewable energy in our restaurants with a network of independent business owners? How can we creatively work with our supply chain to adopt practical solutions that cut carbon? How can we use our scale and convene with other industry players to push for infrastructure changes to enable recycling in all of our restaurants around the globe? Answering these questions cannot be done by one person or team, which is why sustainability jobs come in all shapes and sizes at McDonald's. 

All told it's an exciting, engaging and, yes, challenging time to work on sustainability issues, and I'm proud to work with such committed and passionate people.

So what does that mean for you? As more and more companies like McDonald's step up to do their part for the environment, I'm convinced there's a vast opportunity for you to step up and do yours. We think of it as building a better McDonald's, but also a better world. 

Watch the video below to learn more about the measures McDonald's is taking to use its Scale for Good:

Ashley McCormack US Public Affairs Manager McDonald's

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