Earlier this week, McDonald’s Corporation announced its commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, signing with Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a partnership organisation to help the private sector to set science-based emission reduction targets. Together with SBTi, McDonald’s aim is to cut a third of emissions from suppliers and its nearly 40,000 restaurants worldwide by 2030, to reach the net zero goals by 2050. McDonald’s Corporation has started going green in 2018, achieving an 8.5% reduction in the emissions of its restaurants and offices, and a 5.9% decrease in supply chain emissions, compared to its 2015 figures.
Chris Kempczinski, McDonald’s President and CEO, has said that McDonald’s “believe [that they] have both a privilege and a responsibility to help lead on issues that matter most in communities-and there is no issue more urgent globally and of impact locally than protecting our planet for generations to come.”
A net zero emissions target of McDonald’s magnitude is no small feat and requires an entire system-wide decarbonisation, working with business teams, franchisees, suppliers, and other partners. McDonald’s is one of the largest beef purchasers in the world, and roughly 80% of its total emissions come from its supply chain such as beef, chicken, dairy, and other proteins. McDonald’s will look towards renewable energy, circular economy, and sustainable packaging. The company will also look to reduce emissions in forestry, land and agriculture while using science-based frameworks from SBTi.
Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said that “by leveraging the latest science in accounting for agricultural emissions, this commitment paves a path for other large food companies to follow. No single company can solve the climate crisis. But commitments like this that raise ambition and push forward critical areas of climate science can create lasting results.”