McDonald’s joins net-zero emissions bandwagon with new target to be carbon neutral by 2050

USA – American fast food company McDonald’s Corp has joined an ever-growing list of food companies with net-zero targets, promising to cut global greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. 

According to the fast-food chain, the targets cover the entire supply chain of the company from the beef in its burgers to the light bulbs in its restaurants. 

The burger chain also said it was working with the nonprofit Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to revamp its existing climate change targets.  

It aims to lower absolute emissions by about a third for both its suppliers and its nearly 40,000 company-run and franchised restaurants around the world by 2030. 

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Like many other companies, Mcdonald’s is heeding to a call by environmental activists for urgent action to be taken to protect the globe from the adverse effects of global warming. 

United Nations scientists say the world’s net emissions must fall to zero by 2050 to limit the rise in global temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius versus pre-industrial levels. 

Net-zero plans require companies to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and offset any remaining emissions using projects that capture the gas. 

More than 1,000 companies have signed similar pledges through the United Nations or Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). 

KFC, McDonald’s peer, already has a similar plan, with its UK & Ireland business committing to achieve net-zero by 2040.  

To further its climate action goals, KFC UK&I has also signed up to the British Retail Consortium’s net-zero roadmap, developed to transition the industry to net-zero by 2040.

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Just recently, funds managing nearly US$30 trillion in assets called for 1,600 of the world’s most polluting companies to set science-based emissions targets, as wildfires, droughts and floods make slowing climate change more urgent. 

McDonald’s is one of the largest beef purchasers in the world and it is estimated that roughly 80% of its total emissions come from its supply chain, in particular its use of beef, chicken, dairy, and other proteins.  

Under the new net-zero strategy, the company has pledged to follow new guidelines from SBTi, with which it already works, to focus on cutting emissions in agriculture, land use, and forestry. 

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