Sustainabillity goal was reached through work with NGOs. © McDonald's Corporation
Sustainabillity goal was reached through work with NGOs. © McDonald's Corporation

McDonald's achieves 100% sustainable coffee supply chain

18 November 2019

Fast-food chain McDonald’s has achieved 100% sustainable sourcing of coffee for its US restaurants by supporting farmers with training and technical guidance.

US restaurants’ ground and whole bean coffee suppliers became fully sustainable ahead of a 2020 target by collaborating with NGOs Conservation International and Rainforest Alliance.

Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO and senior scientist at Conservation International, said: “McDonald’s achievement of sustainably sourcing 100% of their coffee shows that sustainability can scale and it’s not just for niche or small businesses.”

Marion Gross, chief supply chain officer at McDonald’s North America, commented: “We recognise that sustainability is important to customers, coffee farmers and to helping ensure the supply of coffee for future generations.” 

Conservation International and McDonald’s partnered to develop a coffee sustainability program called McCafé Sustainability Improvement Platform (SIP). 

The SIP programme aims to help support coffee growers and communities. In Columbia in 2018, 3,700 farmers completed sustainability training, including technical guidance, individual farm visits, community support, and payments. 

SIP also reduced water consumption in Columbia by 36,000 litres per year and planted 326,000 new coffee trees.

McDonald’s also sources coffee from Rainforest Alliance-verified suppliers.

Alex Morgan, chief markets officer at the Rainforest Alliance, said: “Sourcing coffee from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms protects the environment as well as farmer livelihoods and the wellbeing of their communities. 

“As coffee growing regions increasingly feel impacts from climate change, McDonald’s sustainable sourcing efforts in partnership with Rainforest Alliance and through McCafé SIP preserve a long-term, sustainable supply of coffee.”

Separately, Burger King has announced a partnership with Unilever’s The Vegetarian Butcher to supply a plant-based Rebel Whopper burger. It is being launched over 2,500 Burger King restaurants across 25 countries in Europe.

The move will make Burger King one of the biggest chains with a plant-based burger option in Europe.

This follows revelations that McDonald’s and Burger King sourced cattle for burgers from a ranch linked to the deforestation of the Amazon.

Meanwhile, a report by the environmental non-profit CDP released earlier this month has tracked companies’ efforts around sustainable palm oil commitments and found that over 80% are not on track to meet their 2020 targets to remove deforestation from their supply chains.

Previously, CDP highlighted that 1,060 (70%) of global companies, including Mondelez International and Ikea, had failed to monitor the impact of their use of four forest-risk commodities.

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