McDonalds announces sustainable source commitment

Yes, and on an airfield nearby a squadron of pigs is preparing for take off.

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

McDonald'sMcDonald’s Corporation has announced its Sustainable Land Management Commitment (SLMC), a significant advancement in the company’s effort to ensure the food served in its restaurants around the world is sourced from certified sustainable sources. The McDonald’s SLMC requires that, over time, its suppliers will only use agricultural raw materials for the company’s food and packaging that originate from sustainably-managed land. This commitment is guided by a long-term vision and supported by an external, third-party annual evaluation process.

“McDonald’s serves customers around the world, and we accept the responsibility that comes with our global presence,” said McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer Jim Skinner. “We will continue to focus our energy on developing sustainable sourcing practices and broadening our menu choices. Each year, we set goals that challenge us to put our resources toward strengthening communities and helping maintain a world that can carry all of us well into the future.”

McDonald’s actions initially will be focused on five raw material priorities – Beef, Poultry, Coffee, Palm Oil and Packaging. Based on a thorough analysis conducted in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the five raw materials which are the initial focus of the SLMC were identified as having the most potential sustainability impacts.

You mean they are no longer using Kangaroo meat and actually do use beef? Seriously, is anyone really trying to tell me that those “burgers” are beef and the stuff is food, because I doubt that.

As part of the SLMC, McDonald’s supposedly is is working with a multi-stakeholder group, the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, and select Regional Roundtables, to improve the sustainability of beef production; has sponsored and is piloting a three-year beef farm study – the largest of its kind - to investigate the carbon emissions on 350 beef farms across the UK and Ireland; is joining the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) this year and has committed to source only RSPO-certified Palm Oil by 2015 and has joined the Sustainability Consortium—an independent organization dedicated to implementing measureable progress based on life-cycle science

“We know that our customers care about where their food comes from,” said Francesca DeBiase, McDonald’s vice president for Strategic Sourcing. “McDonald’s and our suppliers have taken many positive steps in the past 20 years to improve the sustainability of our supply chain, and now we’re reaching even higher with our vision for sourcing all of our food and packaging from certified sustainable sources.”

McDonald’s details its SLMC progress in a special report available at:

The Sustainable Land Management Commitment was announced in conjunction with the release of McDonald’s 2010 Worldwide Corporate Responsibility (CR) Report, accessed at

In the latest web-based corporate responsibility report, themed “What We’re Made Of,” McDonald’s demonstrates measurable gains in the areas of sustainable supply chain, nutrition and well-being, environmental responsibility, employment experience, community, and corporate governance and ethics.

McDonald's claims that nutrition and well-being is high on the company's agenda and that servings of fruits and vegetables offered continues to increase and additional menu items are added, including oatmeal in the U.S., to offer more choice and variety.

I must say that I am trying hard not to laugh writing this article from their press release for ethics, nutrition and the rest, and McDonald's, for some reason do not equate as one with me, and I am sure that I am not alone here.

It also makes little difference as to whether the company and its customers have raised $170 million during the annual McHappy Day fundraiser to support Ronald McDonald House Charities and other children’s causes. That does not make for ethical behavior.

I will believe in the company's ethical behavior when they remove HFCS from its ingredients and other such stuffs that are a cause of obesity in children.

It will take more than just words for me, and I am sure many, many others, to believe in McDonald's corporation's ethics and green and sustainability credentials. So far, as far as I am aware from sources in the USA, the beef for the burgers there comes from animals that are raised in feed lots and not range fed. Actions speak louder than words and, as the German proverb says, “paper is very patient”.

© 2011