Earlier this week, McDonald's went public with a pledge "to begin purchasing verified sustainable beef in 2016." Among the first thoughts that came to mind when hearing the news was, "What is sustainable beef?" As it turns out, McDonald's doesn't have a definition either, but as the press around the pledge suggests, it seems pretty intent on addressing the issue nonetheless.
McDonald's does know that it wants to do its "part to improve environmental practices in the way beef is produced, support positive workplaces in the beef industry, and drive continuous improvement in animal health and welfare."
Members of the Milton Friedman fan club won't need to begin firing off nasty letters to McDonald's CEO Donald Thompson. McDonald's plans to do all this and keep its burgers affordable for its customers, which will in turn provide continuing returns for its investors.
The beef announcement is part of a larger mission around sustainability for the company.
"We aspire to source all of our food and packaging from sustainable sources, verified sources for sustainability on the way they treat animals, on the way they treat people, as well as the planet," J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, senior vice president of global CSR, sustainability and philanthropy, told GreenBiz.
In the same article, McDonald's expressed confidence in its ability to reach its goal because of the close relationship it has with suppliers around the globe. According to the piece, the chain has about 20 suppliers that represent about two-thirds of its annual expenditures.
Generally speaking, do you think corporate "sustainability" efforts help or hurt companies and their investors?