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19 March 2012 | Angeline Albert
McDonald's has praised the sustainable efforts of its suppliers, one of which helped a Chernobyl orphanage to begin to support itself.
The fast-food chain was announcing the winners of its 2012 ‘Best of Sustainable Supply Chain’ awards to vendors who have demonstrated good practice in improving local communities, the environment, employee welfare or food sources.
Out of 440 submissions from 176 of the company’s suppliers, the awards recognised 51 projects, which it highlighted in its report.
Winners included Burnbrae Farms, a supplier that started working with the charity Canadian Aid for Chernobyl (CAC), which provides humanitarian aid to communities in Belarus still affected by the nuclear disaster. The Chaussy orphanage, which houses 100 orphans, wished to raise chickens and produce eggs to feed the orphans. Burnbrae Farms designed chicken coops and asked its suppliers to provide chicken cages, fans and chickens for the project. The company’s workers also travelled to Belarus to teach the children how to raise the chickens. Burnbrae employees also created the Sponsor a Pullet project to raise additional money to buy feed for the birds. The results were healthy food, a source of income and practical training for the orphans. None of the orphanage's produce goes to McDonald's.
Other sustainable projects celebrated by McDonald’s included Refricon Vegetable Foods’ efforts to recycle old staff uniforms used in its Bataguassu plant. The company partnered with Centro de Atenção Psicossocial, a local institution that treats psychologically troubled patients. It prepared old uniforms, by removing company logos, and delivered them to patients who turned the old clothes into rugs that could be sold to help finance the institution’s services. The recycling activity also prevented the old clothes going to landfill.
Roland Bonney, an awards judge and director of Food Animal Initiative, said: “McDonald's Best of Sustainable Supply recognises the importance, and thereby encourages, the development of sustainable initiatives within the supply chain.”