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McDonalds And Beef Sustainability
Some of the most iconic menu items at McDonald’s are their 100% beef hamburgers. They don’t own farms or rear animals directly, so the company is one of the world’s biggest buyers of beef. They’re involved in helping move the industry toward more sustainable production practices by working with farmers, environmental groups and governments.
Townsend Bailey is the director of sustainability for McDonald’s and serves on the board of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. He says the board has developed a global set of principles and criteria for what sustainable beef should be. Each sector of the value chain within the organization has created metrics, guides and resources.
"For us it’s looking at what are tools that work for farmers and ranchers and how do we support them? Whether it’s trainings that we can sponsor, tools that can be helpful, and so it’s less about telling farmers and ranchers what to do, and more about how do we engage with tools and systems that have been developed by farmers and ranchers, and support those," says Bailey.
Within the sustainability framework, Bailey says the Roundtable is launching a self-assessment tool.
"Recognizing every farm, every ranch is different and there’s no one-size-fits-all. So, the self-assessment tool says here are the metrics, here are the resources we’ve developed, how are you doing? Where do you want to focus? It can be used by farmers and ranchers, there’s also a self-assessment tool for restaurants and retailers to use, too so there’s tools for the whole value chain," he says. "We’re all engaged in this together, it can’t be just one part of the value chain has to bear all the burden."