McDonald's is known for many things worldwide: its iconic golden arches; its signature burger, the Big Mac, with the coveted secret sauce; its delicious fries and McNuggets; its affordability and convenience; its mascot, Ronald McDonald.
But did you know that it is also a founding member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef?
To be honest, most of the criticism geared toward McDonald's usually has to do with whether its menu items are healthy, its advertising is moral and its practices are ethical. So we were blown away when we learned that back in 2012, the fast food chain decided to become a major proponent for a roundtable that focuses on defining sustainable beef as environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable.
McDonald's is one of the largest beef purchasers globally, so the company's dedication to sustainable beef is actually a huge deal, especially because as Fortune reports, it is directing its significant purchasing power to influence sustainable beef in two new key pilot programs.
For one, McDonald's is supporting a sustainable beef pilot program in the U.S. that will attempt to measure beef sustainability in a research initiative conducted by the Noble Foundation.
McDonald's will also be supporting a $4.5 million matching grant program that will test grazing practices that could lead to negative carbon impact.
Additionally, McDonald's is totally committed to aiding in the elimination of deforestation. As Fortune reports, the company has said that it is "one of the first global restaurant brands to take a stand to confirm that forests are protected while beef is produced" and wants to eliminate deforestation for its beef supply chain as soon as 2020.
Not bad, McDonald's!
Of course, that doesn't stop the facts from being the facts: There is no consistent definition of sustainable beef, and factory farming and the like are never going to be environmentally conscious or cruelty-free practices.
However, the fact that McDonald's is taking strides to be more environmental and compassionate is only going to spur other chains to hopefully follow their lead, and possibly even outstrip them eventually in humanitarian efforts!