Conservation International and McDonald’s Corporation continue to build on more than 20 years of partnership by finding new ways to tie together on-the-ground conservation efforts with  educational outreach campaigns geared toward teaching kids about the importance of protecting threatened species.

2008: McDonald’s Europe launched a special Happy Meal promotion in partnership with Conservation International to engage kids in a fun and informative way about protecting the environment. The "Endangered Animals Happy Meal" featured information about eight species of endangered animals and how they are being threatened by climate change.

Each of the Happy Meal boxes featured our logo and pointed kids to a specially designed website with additional games and information about all eight animals and tips kids can use to help the environment. McDonald’s Europe created a short video about the partnership with Conservation International and also made a 1 million Euro contribution to support three projects led by Conservation International and its partners to protect tropical forests of Cambodia, Sumatra and the Congo, home to Asian elephants, tigers and gorillas.

Building on our joint efforts to talk to kids and families about conservation in a fun and unique way, we also worked together to protect pandas and panda habitats. As DreamWorks’ newest feature ”Kung Fu Panda“ was a hit in theaters in the summer of 2008, we joined forces with McDonald’s to educate kids about Po’s real life cousins, the Giant Panda. As part of the outreach efforts, we provided kids with an opportunity to see wild pandas up close through special ”panda-cams“ set up by scientists in China.

From Happy Meals to websites, Conservation International and McDonald’s have a unique opportunity to harness the excitement and fun of these promotions to help kids make conservation part of their everyday lives and to create positive environmental solutions for our planet.

A long history of working together

True conservation is a mix of educational opportunities and serious work in the field. McDonald’s has been working with Conservation International for nearly two decades to develop innovative solutions that benefit the environment and their business. Much of this work focuses on supporting McDonald's sustainable supply chain and achieving conservation benefits by developing and demonstrating ways to advance resource and biodiversity conservation, including their membership in our Business & Sustainability Council. Below you will see a snapshot of the wide range of activities we have taken on together. But stay tuned, as we look to explore additional ways that our unique collaboration can have positive impacts for our planet.

Panda guardians

In addition to creating more awareness about the plight of the panda, McDonald’s also provided direct support to our efforts to protect wild pandas by working with ”Panda Guardians.“ Panda Guardians include the staff of nature reserves that shelter pandas, local communities living near pandas or sharing the same landscape, as well as conservation scientists who study and design conservation research and action to protect pandas. In essence, Panda Guardians are a localized network working together to monitor pandas and other species, patrolling and protecting panda habitat, and continuously monitoring activities to ensure that our work is yielding the best possible results. Working with Panda Guardians goes to the heart of our mission: demonstrating that human societies can live harmoniously with nature.

Bee Good to the Planet

In 2007, McDonald’s and Conservation International collaborated on the launch of "The Bee Movie" Happy Meal. We helped develop a Bee Good to the Planet website, which encouraged children to become more active with environmental issues and get outside to enjoy what their local environments have to offer. In addition, McDonald’s generously pledged funds to directly assist crucial bee habitats in Mexico and South Africa that will help ensure that these important species continue to pollinate for a long time to come.

Socially responsible food supply guidelines

In 2002, McDonald’s and Conservation International partnered through our then newly formed Center for Environmental Leadership in Business to develop and demonstrate ways to incorporate sustainability and conservation criteria into McDonald’s food supply chain in an economically achievable way.

Supplier environmental scorecard

One of the major accomplishments of this initiative was the development of an environmental scorecard to help McDonald’s suppliers measure and improve upon four key areas of environmental impact including water use, energy use, solid waste, and air emissions. First piloted in 2005, this scorecard continues to be expanded globally to McDonald’s key commodity suppliers.

Sustainable fisheries

McDonald’s and Conservation International established a sustainable fisheries program which guides all of McDonald’s global fish purchases. The program provides a simple "stop light" model of red, yellow, green system based on the overall health and quality of the fishery from a conservation perspective. The system is designed to help identify areas for improvement in fisheries management and related marine conservation. This program has led to the shifting of more than 20 thousand tons of fish away from unsustainable sources to sustainable sources, since 2001.

Coming together to save a biodiversity-rich reserve in Costa Rica and Panama Amisconde

From 1991 to 1997, Conservation International partnered with McDonald’s on the Amistad Conservation and Development Initiative ”Amisconde.“ This was an important bi-national project that focused on the important buffer zones around the 4.4 million acre La Amistad Biosphere Reserve that stretches from Costa Rica into Panama.

The project set up a proactive management strategy in these buffer zones that worked directly with the local residents in Costa Rica and Panama on issues including forestry, agriculture, soil conservation, environmental education, and community development. Hundreds of acres of land not suitable for cultivation were reforested, additional cleared land was left to regenerate naturally and cattle farmers were shown how to better manage their livestock. The project also set up a credit system managed by the farmers themselves, allowing them to establish soil-conservation projects, start tree nurseries, and establish environmentally friendly products and businesses.

A McDonald’s representative sat on the Executive Committee overseeing the Amisconde project and McDonald’s helped fund portions of the project through its global operations and members of its supply chain – including Coca-Cola and Keystone Foods, which also provided additional funding.

Amazon rainforest protection: partnering to save a precious commodity

Since 2006, McDonald's has been working with Greenpeace, Conservation International, and other business and nonprofit organization leaders in Brazil resulting in the establishment of a moratorium on soybean sourcing to help protect precious areas of the Amazon Rain Forest.

Discover the rainforest happy meal

In 1991, Conservation International worked with McDonald’s to launch the very first Happy Meal with a conservation message that reached millions of customers.

The rainforest imperative

This 1990 educational video, made available to schools by McDonald's, outlined important issues facing the world's rainforests.

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