McDonald’s has come under fire recently, with Greenpeace accusing the company of destroying rainforest lands and the UK Daily Mail claiming that the company is responsible for 29% of all take-out litter in the country. Now McDonald’s has fired back with its 2009 Global Best of Green report, which covers the companies sustainable practices in recycling, energy, packaging, restaurants, communications, and more.
Among the company’s top green efforts worldwide are smart irrigation and water conservation efforts at McDonald’s Australia, interactive software to cut electricity use at McDonald’s France, and a LEED Gold certified pilot green restaurant in Chicago. The Global Best of Green report also highlights small but significant measures, such as McDonald’s Canada’s switch from bleached white napkins to plain brown napkins–a move that reduces energy, wood and water use, that has also saved $1.3 million annually. In the U.S., McDonald’s saved nearly 1,000 tons of resin by decreasing the weight of polypropylene cold cups.
It’s hard to say definitively that these measures add up to overall sustainability at McDonald’s, but at a company with millions of restaurants worldwide, every little bit makes a huge difference. The next step for McDonald’s green efforts is to use more local food–a growing trend that smaller chains like Chipotle and Burgerville are embracing.