As one of the world’s widest ranging multinational corporations, McDonald’s, has received its fair share of criticism — whether the issues are social, environmental or economic. That’s certainly the case when it comes to the overall sustainability of McDonald’s far-flung network of fast-food restaurants and suppliers. The company has also garnered negative attention for its influence and impact on people’s eating habits and nutrition, as well as the wages and benefits it offers employees.
Yet McDonald’s, as is true of a growing number of multinationals, has been dedicating an increasing amount of resources, time and effort to develop a strategic vision and implement sustainable business methods and practices that improve and enhance the social and environmental, as well as economic, impacts of its operations.
Aiming to spur sustainable business methods and practices throughout its vast network of suppliers, McDonald’s on April 1 announced the winners of its 2014 “Best of Sustainable Supply” awards.
Recognition for sustainability across the supply chain
As McDonald’s explains in a press release, its 2014 award winners highlight “how suppliers achieved significant results by identifying opportunities and applying sustainable solutions in diverse places around the world.” In making the awards, a panel of McDonald’s leadership and industry experts chose suppliers who had instituted sustainable solutions spanning eight categories — some of which are important for businesses of all shapes and stripes to consider, others more specific to the food industry:
- Climate Change and Energy
- Land and Biodiversity
- Human Health and Welfare
- Animal Health Welfare
- Community Impact and Economics
A total 51 entrants received 2014 sustainable supply awards from among 600 submissions from around the world. A full list can be found in the complete report on McDonald’s website. One of the 14 judges from 13 businesses and organizations on the awards’ selection committee, Christine Bader, human rights advisor to Businesses for Social Responsibility (BSR), pointed out the importance of recognizing corporations making genuine efforts to enhance the sustainability of their businesses.
“It is critical to recognize progress in sustainability to encourage more of it. By highlighting good practices among its supply chain partners, McDonald’s is rewarding the sort of innovation that we all want to see.”
Added award panel member and GreenBiz Vice President John Davies:
“Selecting a small list of winners from such a robust group of entrants was challenging. Every entry was valid, with all programs demonstrating impressive ingenuity and results. It boiled down to identifying entries that were innovative and impactful, and programs that could not only enhance sustainability in the broader industry, but ideas that were sustainable themselves.”
McDonald’s sustainable supply award winners
Among the 2014 “Best of Sustainable Supply” award winners, McDonald’s highlighted the sustainability initiatives carried out by Campbell Soup Co., Lamb Weston/Meijer, ConAgra Foods and the Coca-Cola Co.:
- Community Impact: The Campbell Soup Co. led a “Just Peachy” project that re-purposed fruit to raise nonprofit funds and combat hunger.
- Water: Through innovation and collaboration, the Lamb Weston/Meijer team created Innowater (renewed water), a technology to purify water to reuse in manufacturing processes.
- Waste: ConAgra Foods established the “Zero Waste Champion” Recognition Program. The award is earned by facilities that have diverted at least 95 percent of solid waste from landfills during the fiscal year and continuously strive to further reduce waste through process modifications and diversion of materials for the most beneficial reuse.
- Climate Change and Energy: The Coca-Cola Co. routed orange juice from a processing facility to a bottling plant via an underground, 1.2 mile pipeline. It has eliminated the need for an average of 70 tanker trucks per day and provides cost savings and reduces the company’s carbon emissions by approximately 20 million tons per year.
Commenting on this year’s awards and winners, McDonald’s executive vice president of Global Supply Chain, Development and Franchising, Jose Armario, stated:
“Our suppliers continue to go above and beyond to provide sustainable leadership and take their commitment to preserving resources seriously. We are fortunate to work with such a diverse and dedicated group of suppliers to service our 35,000 global restaurants and 70 million customers each day.”
For more on 3p’s coverage of McDonald’s and sustainable business management, check out these articles from the 3p archive:
Image and graphic courtesy of McDonald’s