McDonald's climate change plan
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McDonald’s Climate Change Plan Targets Beef Production, Energy Use, and Waste

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The Golden Arches says it will reduce its greenhouse emissions by 36 percent by 2030

McDonald’s has launched a new initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its restaurants by 36 percent by 2030. The plan, which was announced on March 20, is expected to eliminate 150 billion tons of emissions, the equivalent of taking 32 million passenger cars off the road for a year.

According to a press release announcing the plan, the company will work with suppliers and franchisees to significantly improve energy efficiency and expand recycling efforts across the chain’s 37,000 locations around the world.

The company says it will target three aspects of its operations — beef production, energy use in restaurants, and sourcing, packaging, and waste — that currently produce 64 percent of its carbon footprint.

CEO Steve Easterbrook touted the plan in a video released by the company.

Cattle production has been widely criticized as a driver of climate change, and as the world’s largest buyer of beef, McDonald’s initiative could produce beneficial ripple effects throughout the industry. Sourcing meat responsibly at McDonald’s scale has proven to be a challenge, though the idea isn’t a new one for the company — the chain has been exploring ways to source sustainable beef since at least 2011.

McDonald’s new plan has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative, which supports companies in designing environmental policies in line with current climate science.

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The Golden Arches has taken significant steps of late to maintain a healthful image, offering fresh (not frozen) beef with premium burgers and even announcing a plan to remove cheeseburgers from the Happy Meal menu to meet calorie goals. They’re also the world’s largest toy distributor due to the millions of Happy Meals they sell each day — one of the things most people don’t know about McDonald’s.