Q. Why did McDonald's Europe choose to feature endangered animals in its Happy Meal?
A. Basically because we are convinced children are interested in and concerned about the environment. According to research from Just Kids Inc.'s "Global Kid Study" [November 2006], endangered animals are amongst the top eight causes concerning children today, along with the rainforest. By creating this Happy Meal program, we want to engage children in a fun and informative way around opportunities to protect our environment and help to inspire the next generation of environmentalists.
Q. What about McDonald's commitment to the environment? For example, are the Endangered Animals Toys made responsibly?
A. Eighty percent of our packaging in Europe is made from 100% renewable resources, and the materials for the Endangered Animal Happy Meal toys and packaging are no different. We also audit our suppliers and follow strict social and environmental compliance measures with our toys and packaging. But of course our commitment to do business in an environmentally sound and sustainable way extends to all areas of operations.
Q. What is McDonald's Europe doing to create sustainable business operations?
A. There has been a significant change in the way we do business over the last few years. We have implemented a number of programs to raise and ensure sustainability throughout the organisation. For instance, with the introduction of the McDonald's Agricultural Assurance programme (MAAP), we were the first quick service restaurant to set out guidelines for its suppliers on safety, quality and sustainability. We genuinely believe some of our programs have already moved the marker for our industry.
Q. How is McDonald's addressing the issue of energy?
A. Energy consumption is one of our most significant environmental impacts and and we are working hard to ensure our restaurants are energy efficient. To list just a few best practices, measures already taken include the ongoing development and introduction of energy efficient equipment and monitoring programs, the installation of energy efficient lightning and the use of renewable energy where possible. Right now we are working to identify best practices throughout the European business with the aim to devolop a list of criteria and actions to improve environmental efficiency which all new openings and re-designs in Europe will benefit from.
Q. What about the environmental impact of transportation?
A. Already over 80% of the used fryer oil from our restaurants across Europe is being recycled into biofuels and approximately 24% is going back into our delivery trucks. In Austria, for example, we have a completely closed loop system whereby our delivery trucks run entirely on the oil from our restaurants. In the UK, we have announced that we will recycle all our used oil into bio-diesel, a decision that will finally lead to a saving of 1,675 tonnes CO2 annually. Of course, we believe we can still improve on this. We estimate that if all oil from restaurants went into biodiesel we would cover our distribution fuel needs for the whole of Europe.
Q. Where does McDonald's consider itself on the "road to sustainability"?
A. We really are just at the beginning and we acknowledge there is a lot more we can do. Through our close partnership with our suppliers and our franchisees we have an immense potential to make a real difference in all areas of sustainability. With this potential comes responsibility. Customers care about what we do and how we do it so we are in a unique position to not only help our customers behave in a sustainable and environmentally sound way, but also to mainstream sustainability well beyond the quick service restaurant sector.