McDonald's Going Green?

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In recent posts on Planetsave and EcoWorldy about moratoria on soya and cattle products related to Amazon destruction, it was mentioned that McDonald’s is helping to save the Amazon. With the company also delving into green building, progressive energy saving software, and charging stations for electric vehicles, is McDonald’s a green company?

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In McDonald’s 2009 Best of Green highlights, they mention that their use of an interactive software program, EcoProgress, for managing and reducing energy usage in restaurants in France achieved an 11% savings in electricity. In Australia, McDonald’s is involved in water management and say that over a 20 year period their advanced stormwater retention tanks can save nearly 4 million liters of water. “In Brazil, Chile and Argentina, McDonald’s has partnered with local organizations that transform used cooking oil into biodiesel. Currently, 270 restaurants in these markets deliver their used oil to be converted into biodiesel, representing over 1,000,000 liters of oil to date.” Is this superficial greenwashing or is McDonald’s stepping up to the plate on environmental issues?

McDonald’s is also jumping into the green building environment in the US. Last year, they opened their first “green restaurant” (in Chicago) for a new pilot program on green building. It received the Gold LEED rating! In one location in North Carolina (opened last month), it has actually installed a charging station for electric vehicles.

McDonald’s is also making a big difference in Japan. By joining the Team Minus 6% program hosted by the Japanese government, “to reduce CO2 emissions by 1kg per person, per day, by offering a discount to consumers who registered to participate in the program,” McDonald’s helped to increase the participants from 40,000 to 380,000.

Is McDonald’s a world leader in environmental issues now, or is this minor activity compared to their non-environmentally friendly activity?

I have only eaten at McDonald’s a few times in my life — in my opinion, that was a few times too many. However, to get such a big, influential company behind green matters can be a huge benefit to the environment. For sure, they have influence on the success of the soya and cattle moratoria in the Amazon. And, clearly, they are helping to boost climate change action in Japan. They are doing a lot with some of their buildings to reduce energy usage. Is it enough? Is it living up to it’s environmental responsibilities? Is it a multi-national company others can follow?

For more on McDonald’s green initiatives, read this recent article or go to their own “environmental responsibility” webpage.

Image credit: The Consumerist via flickr under a Creative Commons license


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

Zachary Shahan has 7352 posts and counting. See all posts by Zachary Shahan