McDonald's Looks to Market to Achieve Sustainability Goals

Back in January, McDonald’s announced plans to begin buying verified sustainable beef by 2016, with the eventual goal of purchasing all of its beef from sustainable sources. Now the company is talking about how that’s going to happen: metrics will be applied at the regional level, in a bottom up approach. “Innovation often occurs at the market level and bubbles up to other markets, rather than being corporation-driven,” said Jeffrey Hogue, McDonald’s senior director of global corporate social responsibility and sustainability, speaking at the annual conference of the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. The company is also allowing restaurants in different markets to develop individual plans for meeting its target of a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency at company-owned restaurants by 2020. This relatively decentralized planning sounds like an efficient business strategy that is more innovative than a generalized, top-down direction. It should be studied by other large companies on the sustainability path.

John Howell, Editorial Director