We’re helping to drive climate action, protecting natural resources, reducing waste and transitioning to more sustainable packaging and toys.
Our Priority Issues
Climate change and its impacts not only pose significant risks to the resilience of our food supply, but also to all communities. We are helping transform food systems for the better, caring for our shared planet by reducing emissions, and adapting and safeguarding our ability to feed communities today and in the future.
Packaging is important in reducing food waste. Our packaging and waste strategies, as well as efforts to reduce plastics in Happy Meal toys, help keep communities clean, protect the planet for future generations and support long-term business resilience. Despite systemic challenges, like recycling infrastructure limitations, we’re working to achieve a more circular economy – where we help keep materials in use rather than relying on new ones.
We aim to help preserve and regenerate nature, support biodiversity and engage the communities and farmers closest to natural ecosystems to build resilience together. By using natural resources in ways that help protect the environment – and encouraging others to do the same – we can continue reducing our impact while helping contribute to nature-positive supply chains and a more sustainable global economy.
Discover how our ambitious goals are guiding our responsible sourcing, as well as how we are building business resilience into our business in a changing world. We are also committed to respecting the human rights of the people who work across the System.
- We have submitted evolved science-based targets for validation by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in line with 1.5°C and the new FLAG framework released in 2022.
- As projects for which contracts were executed between 2019–2023 become operational, they are expected to contribute to a 33% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our global 2015 baseline.
Packaging, Toys & Waste
- Approximately 81.0% of our primary guest packaging materials and 97.2%1 of our primary fiber packaging comes from recycled or certified sources as of year-end 2022.
- Our ambition is to drastically reduce plastics and offer sustainable Happy Meal toys2 and transition to more sustainable materials by the end of 2025. Since 2018, we have reduced virgin fossil fuel-based plastic in Happy Meal toys by 47.8% globally.
Nature, Forests & Water
- Since 2020, we have continued to substantially achieve supporting deforestation-free supply chains across our primary commodities: beef, soy for chicken feed, palm oil, coffee and fiber for guest packaging. In aggregate, 99.0% of these priority commodities supported deforestation-free supply chains in 2022.
- In 2022, we joined the Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) Forest Positive Coalition, a multi-company initiative to stop commodity-driven deforestation and address global climate change issues across the sector and have begun publicly reporting against CGF’s KPIs to maintain ongoing transparency and accountability in our first Consumer Goods Forum’s Positive Coalition 2022 Report (PDF – 200 KB)
- McDonald’s recently joined global efforts to reach net zero emissions by 2050
- Several of our restaurants around the world are making progress for the planet
Reporting Across Our Purpose & Impact
This section of our website – Our Purpose & Impact – acts as the primary platform for our foundational approach, strategies and policies over each of our priority environmental and social issues, alongside recent progress highlights. In addition to our overall approach to issues, our goals and performance work in tandem to drive transformation across our four Impact Areas – the topics we know matter most to our stakeholders – helping us stay accountable for realizing our purpose and driving meaningful impact.
Relevant Reports & Summaries
- 2021 Climate Risk & Resiliency Summary (PDF – 3.82 MB)
- 2022 CDP Climate Change (PDF – 827 KB)
- 2022 CDP Forests (PDF – 606 KB)
1 Packaging: Scope: Inclusive of centrally managed guest packaging and Happy Meal book and toy packaging. Renewable sources refer to material that is composed of biomass from a living source and that can be continually replenished. Renewable applies to plastics only, not fiber. Source: ISO 14021:2016 for plastic, ASTM 6866 or ISO 16620-2. Fiber-based packaging made from 100% recycled sources must be third-party verified, unless certified under a Chain of Custody Forest Management standard. McDonald’s requires all wood fiber sourced from Argentina, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Russia and Vietnam to be FSC® certified or FSC Controlled Wood sources with full chain of custody certification. Perfluorinated compounds are known to be historically persistent in the environment. McDonald’s commits to not intentionally adding fluorinated compounds through our processes, but fluorinated compounds present in the local environment make it difficult to remove all traces of fluorine from packaging. Please refer to Our Nature, Forests & Water page for additional definitions. Exclusions: Primary fiber-based packaging in food packaged off-site of McDonald’s restaurants, tray liners and limited locally sourced items.
2 Toys: Scope: Inclusive of all toys. Fiber-based toys or fiber components in the toys: 100% certified fiber required. All other materials: McDonald’s ambition is to reduce the use of virgin fossil fuel-based plastics, offer sustainable toys by the end of 2025 and not manufacture electronics and batteries in Happy Meal toys globally. For bio- and plant-based plastics to be considered sustainable for McDonald’s, a minimum of 60% of plastic weight is required to come from recycled or renewable content or a combination of recycled and renewable content, though in many practical applications we anticipate that percentage will be much higher. The remaining 40% may be conventional fossil fuel-based material. These thresholds were developed in conjunction with input from NGOs, external manufacturing partners and scientists, and based on an assessment of sustainable toy and packaging industry leaders so that our targets reflected current sustainable engineering capabilities to maintain safety and functionality. Our efforts will result in an approximate 90% reduction in virgin fossil fuel-based plastic use against a 2018 baseline. Fiber-based packaging: Source: ISO 14021:2016. McDonald’s requires all wood fiber sourced from Argentina, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Russia and Vietnam to be FSC® certified or FSC Controlled Wood sources with full chain of custody certification. Russia is included for the purposes of performance reporting to the end of December 2021. The thresholds described above do not include the presence of adhesives, glues, inks, paints and coatings.
Additional issues across our four pillars include: