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Sustainable Sourcing

McDonald’s long-term vision is to source all of our food and packaging sustainably.  This overarching goal addresses all levels of our supply chain from the farms, forests and oceans that produce our products to the front counter of our restaurants.  For McDonald’s, sustainable sourcing must address what we call the 3 E’s of sustainability: ethics, environmental responsibility, and economic viability.

In 2009, we established a more comprehensive and proactive commitment to ensure that, over time, the agricultural raw materials for our food and packaging originate from sustainably managed land.  We called this our Sustainable Land Management Commitment.   

In 2013, we expanded this commitment to address all 3 E’s at the raw material production level, not just the environment.  We have also aligned the following 5 programs to manage and improve impacts at each level of our supply chain.

Sustainable Sourcing

With regard to raw materials, our initial six global priority products are beef, coffee, palm oil, packaging/ fiber, fish and seafood, and poultry.

Priority Products


Beef is McDonald’s global top sustainable sourcing priority.  Currently, there is no broadly accepted and credible definition of sustainable beef.  Our top priority for 2013 was to create global principals and standards for how McDonald’s will measure sustainable beef while also advocating as part of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) for industry-owned principles and standards.


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: 1) buying coffee from certified or verified sustainable sources and 2) investing in farmer training.

Palm Oil

McDonald’s supports multi-stakeholder efforts such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to ensure the sustainable production of palm oil and to certify sustainable palm oil products. We are committed to supporting sustainable palm oil production with all palm oil purchased for restaurant cooking and par-fry for chicken and potato products by 2015.


McDonald’s aims to continually improve the overall sustainability of our packaging.  The objectives of our sustainable packaging efforts are to: optimize weight and simplify the number of materials used in our packaging, design recoverable packaging with viable end-of-life options and increase use of recycled or renewable materials from certified sources.


With expert guidance from the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, our Sustainable Fisheries program defines sustainability standards that guide all of our purchases worldwide for wild-caught fish. The program has been in place since 2001 and today all of our whitefish used in the Filet-o-Fish is wild-caught from sustainable fisheries.


Chicken has been a part of McDonald’s menu since the McChicken sandwich was first introduced in 1975 and is a priority for our Global Animal Health & Welfare team. We’re partnering with experts from academia, NGOs and our supply partners that understand the ongoing research and have identified industry best practices related to chickens and egg laying hens. The sub-team focused on chickens is developing global guidelines and audit criteria on requirements we believe are necessary to ensure the animals’ health and welfare throughout the supply chain. The laying hen sub-team is developing broad guidelines and specific requirements for hen housing depending on type to accommodate cultural variations and local regulations in how the hens are raised around the world.