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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.

32% of our global coffee purchases were verified sustainable in 2014

Globally, we're committed to sourcing coffee responsibly, and we're focusing our efforts in two primary ways.

Buying verified sustainable coffee. Globally in 2014, about 32% 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 U.S. and Canada, all McDonald’s coffee served in Brazil 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 more than $6 million over 4.5 years in farmer technical assistance. Learn more below.

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More than 95% of our global coffee purchases are Arabica beans from Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Brazil and Sumatra.

We're supporting sustainable coffee—and farmers

While our goal to advance coffee sustainability is global, 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 more than 14,000 farmers in Guatemala in sustainable coffee growing practices.

Initial evaluation shows that the first cohort of 9,000 farmers are now implementing improved agricultural and business practices that have increased coffee yields by an average of more than 20%. This means higher incomes for farmers and more food for their families during the lean months that threaten most of the region’s coffee-producing families. These results were generated despite Coffee Rust disease, difficult weather conditions and fluctuating prices. Farmers are also being trained in best practices for staple food production and planting alternative crops to provide food for their families and to sell.

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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. We’re taking bigger and bolder steps with our global network of Franchisees, suppliers and employees to lead meaningful change across our industry, our value chain and the communities we serve.

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

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