Gap Score: -14.5
  • McDonalds saved more then 169 million kWh through the implementation of high-efficiency kitchen equipment between 2010 and 2013. All U.S. corporate headquarters are LEED certified, as are 9 restaurants worldwide.

  • Among McDonald’s 34,113 restaurants, about 90% recycle used cooking oil for after-market uses (including biodiesel), and 77% recycle corrugated cardboard. McDonald’s Europe aims to send zero waste to landfill or incineration by 2020.

  • Waterless urinals have been installed in 900 McDonald’s restaurants, with estimated savings of more than 40 million gallons of water every year.

  • 100% of McDonald’s U.K. eggs are free range, including the eggs they use for dressing and breading, a total of 111 million eggs per year.

Working Together

McDonald’s will become the first U.S. national restaurant chain to serve certified-sustainable seafood at all of its 14,000 U.S. locations. The blue ecolabel of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) will mark all packaging for fish dishes, which is a massive stride toward sustainability since McDonald’s is one of the single largest purchasers of fish in the country. The brand is currently using MSC-certified, wild-caught Alaskan pollock, which is subject to change, depending on fish stock health, impacts of fisheries on ecosystems, and the fisheries' management systems. By sourcing local fish, McDonald’s is also helping to minimize the carbon footprint of its operations. Another cooperative step toward sustainability is happening in Canada, where McDonald’s committed to sourcing only verifiable sustainable beef in 2016. This requires the company to uphold food safety standards during processing, as well as comply with checks on animal care and biodiversity. Working with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Alberta Beef Producers, and others, the company has begun creating a sustainable supply chain to meet this approaching committment.

The Green Advantage

Continuing its focus on making the company more sustainable, fast-food giant McDonald’s has taken great strides in the last year to make its company greener, while being more transparent about its efforts. The company has narrowed its strategy into two categories: energy efficiency and sustainable sourcing. In the field of energy efficiency, McDonald’s is working hard to reduce its carbon footprint through better equipment. McDonald’s has also made big leaps in sustainable sourcing in the last year, partnering with the Marine Stewardship Council to serve sustainable fish, which will make it the first national restaurant chain to serve certified-sustainable seafood at all of its locations. In May 2014, McDonald’s took another step forward by announcing a list of ambitious sustainability and social-responsibility goals to reach by 2020. Some of these goals include a 20% improvement in the energy efficiency of company-owned restaurants in top markets and increasing in-restaurant recycling by 50%. Despite all it is doing, perception still lags reality in many markets, creating both a challenge and opportunity for McDonalds to capture credit for its efforts.


McDonald’s Sustainable Fish: All U.S. Locations To Serve MSC-Certified Seafood
Canada to be first to supply McDonalds with sustainable beef
What makes a good egg?
McDonald’s to start using cage-free eggs