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Behind the Cup

McDonald's and Coffee Sustainability

At McDonald's, we're committed to bringing you great-tasting coffee and espresso brewed from high quality coffee beans. At the same time, we realize that when it comes to coffee sourcing — where we get our beans and the farmers who grow them — it's important that we think about the long-term impacts of coffee production and trading.

More than 95% of our global coffee purchases are Arabica beans.

Globally, we're committed to responsible coffee sourcing, and we're focusing our efforts in two primary ways intended to drive ethical, environmental and economic outcomes in our coffee supply chain.

Buying certified (and verified) coffee. Globally in 2012, about 25% of our total coffee bean purchases were from Rainforest Alliance Certified™, Fair Trade USA or UTZ Certified farms. The majority of our certified coffee purchases are from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, including 100% of our espresso in the US and Canada, and all of our coffee in Australia and New Zealand. McDonald's markets in Europe source 100% of their coffee - with the exception of decaf - from farms that are Rainforest Alliance Certified, UTZ Certified, or Fair Trade International.

Investing in farmer training: McDonald's USA, McDonald's Canada and their franchisees are investing over $6 million in a farmer technical assistance program. Learn more below.

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Our Arabica bean coffee comes from regions of Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Brazil and Sumatra.

We're supporting "small holder" farmers in Guatemala

While our goal to advance coffee sustainability is global in nature, our efforts begin locally. McDonald's is collaborating with TechnoServe, an international non-profit and leading provider of agricultural technical assistance, as well as SCAN (Sustainable Commodities Assistance Network), to train up to 13,000 farmers in Guatemala and Central America.

This effort includes providing farmers with technical assistance and training to produce coffee in a more sustainable manner. Through these efforts, McDonald's endeavors to strengthen local economies, preserve biodiversity and give farmers the tools they need to improve their production. When farmers can deliver a more consistent, high-quality bean, it increases the chances that their yield can be sold for a higher price, helping to improve their livelihood. It also helps our business because by supporting the development of sustainable farming practices McDonald's hopes to ensure coffee's long-term availability in the region.

The majority of our Arabica bean coffee comes from countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Brazil.

Watch the Story

Sustainable practices help improve bean quality and lead to long-term supply availability.

Meet the People

By working with TechnoServe, McDonald's is helping farmers in Guatemala develop sustainable farming practices.

Meet a few of the coffee farmers participating in the farmer training program with TechnoServe.

  • The Farmer

    The Farmer

    Meet Sandra Lopez, a Guatemalan coffee farmer carrying on the family tradition of coffee farming. As with many Guatemalan farming families, the Lopez's land and resources are limited, requiring great effort to generate profitable and sustainable coffee crops each year. Through our collaboration with international non-profit organizations, Sandra and farmers like her are provided with education, training and resources necessary to help improve their coffee production and farming practices, now and in the future.

  • The Land

    The Land

    McDonald's USA and McDonald's Canada source coffee from several Central and South American countries, including Guatemala and Colombia.

    Despite its relatively small size, Guatemala boasts one of the most climatically diverse regions in the world and is well-known for quality coffee production.

  • The Trainer

    The Trainer

    Braulio is a native Guatemalan and Farmer Trainer for TechnoServe, where he educates Guatemalan coffee farmers on sustainable farming principles and practices.

    As part of McDonald's investment in a farmer technical assistance program, TechnoServe, along with the Sustainable Commodity Assistance Network (SCAN), provide critical training for coffee farmers in Central America.

    Through our collaborations with TechnoServe and SCAN, and with our investment in certified coffee purchases, (UTZ, Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance), we're positioning farmers for expanded capacity of more sustainable coffee yields. All of this helps ensure our customers can continue to enjoy the consistent, flavorful coffee taste profile that they've grown to love and expect from McDonald's.

Sustainable farming ensures farmers can sell coffee at a fair price.



Coffee production is just one area where McDonald's is committed to sustainability. Our larger effort includes focusing on five areas: Nutrition & Well Being, Sustainable Supply Chain, Environmental Responsibility, Employee Experience and Community.

Discover the differences we're making for a more sustainable future.

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