We are committed to taking a "total life cycle" approach to solid waste, examining ways of reducing materials used in production and packaging, as well as diverting as much waste as possible from the solid waste stream. In doing so, we will follow three courses of action: reduce, reuse and recycle.
Reduce. We will take steps to reduce the weight and/or volume of the packaging we use. This may mean eliminating packaging, adopting thinner and lighter packaging, changing manufacturing and distribution systems, adopting new technologies or using alternative materials. We will continually search for materials that are environmentally preferable.
Reuse. We will implement reusable materials whenever feasible within our operations and distribution systems as long as they do not compromise our safety and sanitation standards, customer service and expectations and are not offset by other environmental or safety concerns.
Recycle. We are committed to maximum use of recycled materials in the construction, equipping and operations of our restaurants. We are already the largest user of recycled paper in our industry, applying it to such items as tray liners, Happy Meal boxes, carryout bags, carryout trays and napkins. Through our "McRecycle" program, we maintain the industry's largest repository of information on recycling suppliers and will spend a minimum of $100 million a year buying recycled materials of all kinds.
We are also committed to recycling and/or composting as much of our solid waste as possible, including such materials as corrugated paper, polyethylene film and paper. We will change the composition of our packaging, where feasible, to enhance recyclability or compostability.
Conserving and protecting natural resources
We will continue to take aggressive measures to minimize energy and other resource consumption through increased efficiency and conservation. We will not permit the destruction of rain forests for our beef supply.
Encouraging environmental values and practices
Given our close relationship with local communities around the world, we believe we have an obligation to promote sound environmental practices by providing educational materials in our restaurants and working with teachers in the schools.
We intend to continue to work in partnership with our suppliers in the pursuit of these policies. Our suppliers will be held accountable for achieving mutually established waste reduction goals, as well as continuously pursuing sound production practices that minimize environmental impact. Compliance with these policies will receive consideration with other business criteria in evaluating both current and potential McDonald's suppliers.
Ensuring accountability procedures
We understand that a commitment to a strong environmental policy begins with leadership at the top of an organization. Therefore, our environmental affairs officer will be given broad-based responsibility to ensure adherence to these environmental principles throughout our system. This officer will report to the board of directors on a regular basis regarding progress made toward specific environmental initiatives.
On all of the above, we are committed to timely, honest and forthright communications with our customers, shareholders, suppliers and employees. And we will continue to seek the counsel of experts in the environmental field. By maintaining a productive, ongoing dialogue with all of these stakeholders, we will learn from them and move ever closer to doing all we can, the best we can, to preserve and protect the environment.