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McDonalds Unveils Sustainable Practices

29 April 2012

Fast food chain McDonald’s has employed techniques including $500 staff incentives, 30 percent wind power requirements and lightweight tractor-trailers to help green up its operations, according to a report by the company.

McDonald’s Global Best of Green 2012 details examples of company programs around the world aimed at energy saving, waste reduction and other environmental goals. Here are some of the U.S.-based programs discussed:

Cardboard recycling

Every year each of McDonald’s U.S.-based company-owned restaurants generates an average of 36 tons of corrugated cardboard waste. Where restaurants have the control of their recycling, 100 percent now recycle their corrugated cardboard, diverting 36 tons of cardboard from landfill each year, the company says.

Wind power purchasing

McDonald’s has committed to using wind sources for 30 percent of its power at company-owned – rather than franchised – restaurants in 2011 and 2012. This totals more than 300,000 MWh of electricity a year, the company says.

Freight efficiency

One of the company’s supply chain contractors, Armada Supply Chain Solutions, saved the company $175,500 in freight costs, 7,790 gallons of diesel fuel and 173, 160 pounds of CO2 emissions by using a new “lite fleet” of truck tractors. The light fleet allow for the transport of an additional 4,000 pounds of freight per truckload over standard tractor/trailer combinations, McDonald’s says.

Energy All Stars program

Started in 2005, the McDonald’s Energy All Stars Program sees restaurant managers nominated for their diligence when using energy consumption-related tools and applications. Successful managers receive $500 and see their practices shared throughout the company. McDonald’s says that the program helped the chain become an Energy Star Partner of the Year in 2007.

In March, McDonald’s pledged to pump $1.5 million into British and Irish farming, as it aims to increase the sustainability of its supply chain. The three-part “Farm Forward” initiative includes a training program for young farmers; provision of a “carbon calculator” to existing farmers; and funding for research and innovation in the British and Irish agriculture sectors.

By Carolyn Wall, GreenBizCheck