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McDonalds vow to end deforestation in its global supply chain

The fast-food chain, which quickly grew into a multi-billion dollar corporation before the new millennium, has hit tough times recently and now has made a major supply chain commitment

McDonald's, the world’s largest chain of hamburger restaurants, has recently announced a huge global commitment on deforestation across the company's expansive global supply chain.

The commitment builds upon McDonald's Framework and longstanding leadership in the area of sustainable sourcing. The pledge encompasses all of the company's products and focuses on beef, fibre-based packaging, coffee, palm oil, and poultry for which the company will begin developing specific time-bound sourcing targets in 2015.

McDonald's will continue working collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders, including suppliers, governments and NGO partners, to develop long-term solutions designed to combat deforestation around the world.

Francesca DeBiase, Senior Vice President of McDonald's Worldwide Supply Chain and Sustainability, said: "This commitment to end deforestation demonstrates another major step for McDonald's as we work to increasingly embed sustainability throughout our global business. Making this pledge is the right thing to do for our company, the planet and the communities in which our supply chain operates. We're excited to continue collaborating with our supplier partners to achieve our goals."

“At McDonald’s, we view protection of forests and High Conservation Value areas as important business and societal issues and believe our role is not just to avoid negative impacts, but to promote responsible production that benefits people, communities and the planet. We believe that an effective approach towards addressing deforestation will require strong collaboration between governments, civil society and the private sector.”

McDonald's commitment also aligns with the company's endorsement of the New York Declaration on Forestsa call for global companies and organisations to do their part in an effort to end natural forest loss by 2030.

This is a major statement by a truly multinational food and drinks company, with over 35,000 restaurants it is no small commitment too. Ending deforestation in the supply chain has steadily risen up the corporate social responsibility pecking order in recent years, as much organisations recognise their responsibility to change the environment for the better. Proctor & Gamble has vowed to end deforestation in its palm oil supply chain by 2020, and now with McDonald’s on-board with ending deforestation in its entire supply chain, the global community is making progress and striding forward, little by little.

According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), deforestation creates far-reaching challenges and implications for future generations due to loss of biodiversity and contributions to climate change, and accounts for 15-20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions; underscoring the urgent need to address the issue. WWF helped advise McDonald's on the deforestation commitment.

David McLaughlin, WWF's Vice President of Sustainable Food, said: "We commend McDonald's plans to combat deforestation across their full range of commodities. This will lead to real conservation impacts on the ground, and we hope that this commitment will inspire other companies to take action.

"This commitment is bolstered by McDonald's ongoing sustainability work with the beef industry and the company's participation in WWF's Global Forest & Trade Network. Expanding monitoring and compliance efforts by McDonald's and their suppliers will be critical to ensuring the success of this important initiative."

Applying throughout the entire supply chain, the core principles and practices of McDonald's commitment on deforestation include: No deforestation of primary forests or areas of high conservation value; No development of high carbon stock forest areas and no development on peatlands regardless of depth, and the utilisation of best management practices for existing commodity production on peatlands.

The company will also continue to respect human rights of all workers across the entire supply chain, and the right of all affected communities to give or withhold their free, prior and informed consent for plantation developments on land they own legally, communally or by custom.

The restaurant chain also pledge to resolve all land rights disputes through a balanced and transparent dispute resolution process, verify origin of raw material production and it will support smallholders, farmers, plantation owners and all suppliers to comply with this commitment.

McDonald's focus on addressing deforestation began in 1989 when it ceased sourcing beef from the Amazon Biome, and the company's Global Sustainability Framework has since expanded to include efforts surrounding food, sourcing, planet, people, and community. More information on McDonald's sustainability efforts is available online at: http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/mcd/sustainability.html

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