McDonald's "Downsizes" to Achieve Sustainability Goals

"Innovation often occurs at the market level and bubbles up . . . rather than being corporate-driven." That surprising comment was made by Jeffrey Hogue, McDonald's Senior Director of Global Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, at last week's US Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment conference. With 36,000 franchises organized around a strong operational and brand-defining administration, decentralization may seem an unexpected choice for the fast food company. But putting responsibility on its individual restaurants to achieve sustainability goals is exactly what McDonald's is talking about by allowing each restaurant to source its own sustainable beef. Eventually, said Hogue, individual restaurants could make their own choices to achieve various targets, from installing energy efficient fryers to byuing LED bulbs. This "downsizing" just might be the healthy business model choice to create a more sustainable fast food company.

John Howell, Editorial Director