McDonald’s is loving sustainable practices

a group of cows standing on grass

Fun food with the feel-good factor of knowing it supports sustainable practices – it’s coming right up!

Do you want fries with that? How about a side of sustainability? Time was, the backstory of our favourite quickservice food didn’t bother us much, as long as it delivered on flavour. Today, your answer to both questions is likely to be a resounding “Yes!”, with most of us as concerned about companies’ social and environmental responsibilities as we are their ability to produce fluffy-on-the-inside, crunchy-on-the-outside chips.

Few family restaurants provide a feel-good factor quite like McDonald’s, and it’s on a journey to ensure that sentiment extends right back to the source of the ingredients their much-loved menu items are made from. It’s a steadfast supporter of our local farmers and growers, a commitment that benefits the producers, environment, economy – and you. Such a win-win-win-win requires the certainty that McDonald’s food can be produced in a way that contributes to a thriving global food system. The company backs that all the way, striving for sustainability across its entire supply chain.

And that’s not just lip service — McDonald’s’ efforts are yielding results in Aotearoa and around the world. Last year, it announced a global goal to decarbonise its operations, setting a target of net-zero by 2050. By 2030, it aims to have ensured sustainable food production systems and implemented resilient agricultural practices, and steps taken since 2018 have already achieved genuine, measurable change.

In a bonus boon for burger enthusiasts, as a big buyer of beef, McDonald’s is part of a holistic system that supports the wellbeing of people, communities, animals and the planet. It recently joined with AgResearch on a regenerative farming trial in Hawke’s Bay that’s investigating ways to improve soil health and reduce carbon emissions. In fact, the company has been working with our beef and dairy farmers for more than a decade, and the New Zealand Roundtable for Sustainable Beef’s mission is to have our meat recognised as the world’s most sustainable.

Partnering with local producers who share McDonald’s’ high standards helps ensure the protection of human and animal rights, water sources and forests, and reduce food and packaging waste. McDonald’s serves Kiwis 6500 tonnes of top-quality beef each year, and a key player in this is Gisborne’s Whangara Farms, the first beef farm outside Europe to be invited to the McDonald’s Flagship Farmers programme, and a benchmark for local sustainable practices. Those irresistible fries come to you from Canterbury, where 12,000 tonnes of fresh potatoes are transported to the McCain’s facility in Timaru annually to be washed, checked and chopped, before being fried, boxed and served.

With local relationships and sustainable systems ever evolving for the better, now’s a very good time for the great taste of McDonald’s. The next time you walk or drive through those Golden Arches, you’ll be loving it all the more, knowing the ingredients were responsibly sourced right here, farm to table, hand on heart.


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