McDonald’s Corp. is announcing its commitment to achieve net-zero emissions across its global operations by 2050. As part of this initiative, the company is joining the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and signing on to the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. In pursuit of a 1.5°C future, McDonald’s will increase the emissions reduction levels in its existing 2030 science-based target across all scopes of emissions in line with developing SBTi best practices and will set a long-term reduction target to reach net-zero emissions. Efforts underway since 2018 have already resulted in an 8.5% reduction in the absolute emissions of restaurant and offices and a 5.9% decrease in supply chain emissions intensity against a 2015 baseline.

“We believe we have both a privilege and a responsibility to help lead on issues that matter most in communities – and there is no issue more urgent globally and of impact locally than protecting our planet for generations to come,” said Chris Kempczinski, president and CEO, McDonald’s. “By committing to net zero through the SBTi’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, we are helping every community we serve mitigate the impacts of climate change and adapt for the future.”

A world with lower greenhouse gas emissions and a steady global temperature could ultimately mean less severe weather that can impact restaurant operators and their communities; and more favorable conditions for the farmers and ranchers who work hard to bring customers’ favorite menu items from the fields to the front counter. 

A global net-zero emissions commitment requires system-wide decarbonization, and McDonald’s is working with market business teams, franchisees, suppliers, and other partners to convert ambition to action to impact by:  

  • Increasing the substantial emissions reductions already in progress across our restaurants, offices, and supply chain in service of McDonald’s existing SBTi targets (set in 2018, covering scopes 1, 2, and 3). Evolving our targets and aligning to the latest climate science across all scopes of our emissions will help to limit rises in global temperatures to under 1.5°C and guide the path toward McDonald’s net-zero 2050 ambition.
  • Enabling McDonald’s teams across the world to innovate and implement locally tailored solutions to help advance industry-leading innovations in renewable energy, regenerative farming, circular economy, and sustainable packaging. Markets are already at work. Today, McDonald’s UK & Ireland is announcing its comprehensive business and sustainable strategy. 
  • Contributing insights from McDonald’s supply chain and sustainability journey thus far to the SBTi’s important ongoing work to develop 1.5°C emissions reduction pathways for forestry, land, and agriculture, and to define a science-based framework for net-zero emissions. Once final, these frameworks will guide the future evolution of our existing targets.

“Because McDonald’s serves and delivers food to local communities around the world, they have an opportunity to use their unique assets — their restaurants and supply chain — to set an example of deep corporate responsibility and to inspire other companies and communities to do likewise. Its decision to commit to a net-zero future matters because it will deliver results at scale and build momentum ahead of COP26 where we need more companies, governments, and other actors to do the same,” said Carter Roberts, president, and CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “By leveraging the latest science in accounting for agricultural emissions, this commitment paves a path for other large food companies to follow. No single company can solve the climate crisis. But commitments like this that raise ambition and push forward critical areas of climate science can create lasting results.”

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