This week, McDonald’s announced plans to end deforestation within its supply chain, a move the company described in a press release as a comprehensive plan that “addresses all products.”
Among the practices outlined in the “McDonald’s Commitment on Deforestation” is no deforestation of primary forests or areas of high conservation value, verification of origin of raw material production, and respect of human rights and the rights of communities affected by potential developments. The company will also stop working with suppliers who do not meet its standards.
According to a press release, “The pledge encompasses all of the company's products and focuses on beef, fiber-based packaging, coffee, palm oil, and poultry — for which the company will begin developing specific time-bound sourcing targets in 2015.”
Though McDonald’s is not the first corporation to make a deforestation pledge — similar commitments have been made previously by Yum! Brands and Dunkin’ Donuts, among others — its position as the world’s largest fast food chain has the potential to change the scope of sustainable sourcing. The company’s commitment to its sweeping announcement is still to be determined.
“The sheer scale of McDonald’s commitment includes significant potential for change, pushing the industry to implement new environmental standards across the board and ultimately reducing climate emissions,” Lael Goodman, an analyst with UCS’s Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative, said in a statement.
“However,” Goodman stated, “the commitment is still a work in progress. To force real change, McDonald’s must demonstrate real action in the form of strong individual commodity commitments and on the ground follow through.”