McDonald’s Leads Lobbying Offensive Against Laws to Reduce Packaging Waste in Europe (2023)

McDonald’s is at the forefront of a campaign against new laws to reduce packaging waste in the EU, in what has been described by some insiders as the largest-scale lobbying effort they have ever witnessed in the European Parliament.

The fast food chain, alongside a number packaging producers and trade associations, wrote to European policymakers at the end of April, demanding a pause to the legislation, which would champion reusable packaging in Europe.

The call follows mounting pressure from industry over the past year. Since June 2022, McDonald’s and other vested industry groups have funded three studies, launched two websites, and sponsored multiple articles attacking the legislation on the grounds it would undermine Europe’s net zero ambitions.

The new EU packaging law, which was published in November, aims to tackle growth in packaging waste and single-use plastic. By 2040, the latter is expected to double in Europe, and to account for almost a fifth of the global carbon budget worldwide.

Campaigners and academics accuse McDonald’s and other industry members of promoting scientifically dubious, cherry-picked evidence in opposition to the legislation.

They point in particular to an “independent” study, funded by McDonald’s, which contained claims that proposed EU targets for packaging reuse could significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions.

The EU’s new Packaging and Packaging Waste law that McDonald’s and others are opposing proposes a ban on single-use packaging in restaurants and cafes by 2030, and an increase in reusables for takeaway food to 10 percent by 2030.

Jean-Pierre Schweitzer, Deputy Policy Manager for Circular Economy at European Environmental Bureau (EEB), described the law as the “most lobbied on file that many people in the Parliament have witnessed.”

Industry members held over 290 official meetings with Members of European Parliament (MEPs) on the topic between the beginning of 2022 and early April, compared to just 21 equivalent meetings held by NGOs.

McDonald’s is responsible for over a billion kilos of packaging every year, equivalent to the weight of more than 100 Eiffel Towers. Fast food giants and packaging firms are opposed to the proposed EU law, campaigners and academics suggest, because it would likely require significant investment and infrastructure upgrades, as well as shifts in company packaging, branding and marketing.

“The current system works really well for them, because they get to keep using single-use packaging … it’s still very profitable,” explained Justine Maillot from the advocacy organisation Rethink Plastics Alliance. But policies encouraging reuse, she says, will require “systemic change”.

Scientists, campaigners and the UN believe that championing reuse in various forms is the best way to tackle the environmental cost of single-use packaging, which is made from fossil fuels, wood pulp, and other raw materials. Almost 10 percent of oil and gas in the EU is used to produce plastics, including for packaging, and almost half of the paper used in the EU is used for packaging.

The shift to reusables is “absolutely essential”, according to Judith Hilton, a Research Associate on Packaging Reuse at the University of Portsmouth. “Crucially, the big emissions are from extraction and production,” she said. “Anything that reduces this is going to make a massive difference in terms of emissions, toxicity levels, and damage to local communities.”

A McDonald’s spokesperson told DeSmog: “Packaging plays an important role in helping us serve hot and freshly prepared food quickly and safely to our customers, and preventing food waste. The mandatory implementation of reusables as the only solution comes with significant operational and financial challenges for the entire industry.” They added that, “while reusable packaging may be one of many potential solutions to explore further, we are concerned about the potential negative environmental consequences.”

The European Parliament is expected to vote on the law in the next 12 months.

The Lobbying Battle

McDonald’s and its packaging industry allies have engaged in a concerted lobbying effort in both the public domain and behind closed doors to water down the EU’s proposed legislation.

In March, McDonald’s sponsored an article in Politico EU – a leading Brussels-based media outlet which attracts over 5.6 million website views in the EU every month – claiming that “Reusable packaging will be counterproductive to Green Deal goals”.

The firm has also paid for multiple statements to be featured in Politico’s influential morning Brussels Playbook newsletter – claiming in one that, “Greenhouse emissions would increase by up to 50 percent for dine-in and up to 260 percent for takeaway” if Europe switched to packaging reuse.

By contrast, the European Commission claims that its new law could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23 million tonnes a year by 2030. A US study published in March found that if a container was reused just 20 times it would reduce global warming potential by over 50 percent compared to single-use alternatives.

McDonald’s also spoke at an event in the European Parliament at the end of February with over 80 attendees, where it warned that the new law may “only make the problem [of environmental breakdown] worse”.

The speakers at the European Parliament event included McDonalds’ Executive Vice President and Global Chief Impact Officer Jon Banner, alongside MEPs Carlo Fidanza, Paolo de Castro, and Salvatore de Meo.

“In the last week, we’ve met with a lot of MEPs, assistants and member states, and the topic of McDonald’s has come up in almost every meeting,” Jean-Pierre Schweitzer from EEB told DeSmog in early April.

This lobbying blitz in European Parliament has relied on the findings of a much-criticised McDonald’s-funded study published in February that was carried out by the research consultancy Kearney.

Following the publication of the Kearney study, packaging industry members held 177 meetings with MEPs in the month, compared to 112 meetings in total during the 12 preceding months.

Since the start of 2022, McDonald’s, Seda, and Huhtumaki – which are two of McDonalds’ key packaging producers – and trade associations representing their interests have held almost 40 official meetings with MEPs. Companies including the chemical giant Dow and soft drink manufacturer Pepsico have also held meetings with MEPs on the topic in recent months.

Pessimistic Assumptions

Campaigners and academics have accused Kearney of producing unduly pessimistic assumptions, ignoring the environmental benefits of reuse, and failing to be transparent about its methodology.

Kearney modelled a variety of reuse scenarios in the report, which examines the environmental impact of switching to reusable packaging systems. But McDonald’s and other trade groups have repeatedly cherry-picked its conclusions, citing findings that relate to a full, 100 percent switch to reusable takeaway packaging in the next decade when the new EU legislation proposes just a 10 percent switch to reusable packaging for takeaway food and 20 percent for takeaway beverages.

The report’s critics also believe that some of the assumptions that inform Kearney’s conclusions are far too pessimistic. The report assumes that reusable takeaway packaging, such as plates and cutlery, will be returned just three times before being thrown away, broken or contaminated – figures that were provided by McDonald’s “pilot data”. (Kearney’s report said that the figures were based on “real world” data from “several European countries” and “benchmarked against other external sources” to present “an accurate picture of the state of reuse in Europe.”)

However, campaigners and academics say customer return rates have the potential to be much higher. For example, if all restaurants used the same packaging, customers could then deposit it in a local collection system (rather than back to individual restaurants) which would likely significantly increase rates of reuse.

“Reuse has to be like recycling. You don’t sort your recycling according to where it came from. You can take it back anywhere,” explained Judith Hilton from University of Portsmouth. “One of the absolute keys in a reuse system is standardisation of packaging.”

Campaigners suggest that the EU’s new legislation is strongly opposed by industry groups because it could slash the profits of packaging firms and require significant investment from companies across the food chain.

The European Commission estimates that the new packaging law could reduce the costs from environmental damage by €6.4 billion by 2030, and result in overall economic savings of over €45 billion. However, the Kearney study warns that switching to reuse would cost between €2 billion and €20 billion in initial investment.

Hilton said that companies are also worried that the new law would challenge their way of marketing. “In quite a lot of cases, the companies are selling the packaging, not the contents.”

However, Hilton is confident that companies will still have plenty of ways to market themselves, given that standardised packaging doesn’t have to be a regimented colour or shape.

Environmental Benefits Ignored

German MEP Malte Gallee has claimed that the research did not consider any potential benefits of the EU’s new legislation. Experts say that Kearney does not appear to have considered the significant environmental gains from successful reuse systems, such as reductions in plastic pollution or deforestation. It did not respond to questions on this subject.

The positive impacts of addressing existing environmental issues are rarely accounted for in studies of this kind, experts say, despite their importance in justifying policy reforms.

Christian Hitt, a research assistant at the Center for Sustainable Systems, University of Michigan, told DeSmog: “Stuff like deforestation and pollution, it’s a little more difficult to quantify,” he said – adding that studies should still be highlighting these factors.

Schweitzer added in an article for the EEB that the results of industry-backed studies are “easily skewed” in favour of certain products or policies, “notably when they do not reflect real world conditions or extrapolate results.”

The Kearney study, for example, claims that “reuse models would require 1 to 4 billion litres of additional water consumption (depending on reuse targets)”. However, researchers from Kearney admitted in a panel event in the European Parliament that they had not considered the reduction in water use associated with not producing as much packaging.

Speaking at the event, Wolfgang Trunk, Policy Officer at the European Commission, asked the Kearney authors: “Did you also factor in the reduction in packaging waste from the reuse?… [For example] the avoided water consumption from the reduced production of paper? Is this factored in?”

One of the co-authors of the report responded: “Water use was not quantified in that sense. We discussed what the additional water use would be, as a fact nugget as opposed to a quantification.”1“No Silver Bullet – Why a mix of solutions will achieve circularity in Europe’s informal eating out (IEO) sector”, panel event in European Parliament, February 28, 2023. Recording on file at DeSmog.

It is “absolutely” misleading for the study to provide figures on additional water use from washing reusables without factoring in water use from the production of single use alternatives, Hilton said. “It talks about it on one side and not on the other. You just can’t do that.”

For many academics and campaigners, though, the biggest issue is a lack of transparency, which has left them unable to analyse many of the findings. Kearney has refused to share the data that underpins its study, which means that external organisations have been unable to scrutinise the results or methodology in detail.

“The publication uses unclear data and assumptions to undermine the role of reusable packaging,” Marco Musso, Policy Officer at EEB, told DeSmog. “It’s a bit disturbing that it’s then presented as unquestionable science.”

Kearney did not respond to questions about whether the extraction and processing of materials to produce packaging – the biggest source of emissions according to academics – were considered in its calculations.

“This is a fight over data,” Maillot said.

Kearney told DeSmog that: “All key assumptions driving conclusions are listed in the study” but that it cannot disclose the full calculations because they contain “proprietary data” – information protected by commercial interests. The study does state, however, that some of the data in the report was provided by McDonald’s and from “interviews conducted with stakeholders across the value chain”.

Kearney told DeSmog that the study was “conducted fully independently” – a fact that is acknowledged within the report, which states that Kearney “is solely responsible for all analyses and conclusions”.

A Slew of Studies

In late April, McDonald’s and 12 industry members launched the lobbying group ‘Together for Sustainable Packaging’, which is dedicated to opposing the proposed EU packaging law.

The alliance includes Seda and Huhtamaki alongside the European Paper Packaging Alliance (EPPA), a trade group of which McDonald’s is a member.

Its website, created by the Brussels-based PR firm Boldt, includes vivid warnings suggesting that policymakers should “beware the unintended consequences of well-meaning legislation”.

The website further claims that: “Several high-level independent studies suggest that replacing recyclable packaging from renewable sources with reusable plastic packaging actually increases emissions, water use, and plastic waste.”

It is not just the Kearney study that has been supported and promoted by industry groups.

In early April, the consultancy giant McKinsey published a similar study to the Kearney report, claiming that single-use packaging would be “more cost-effective and result in lower carbon emissions” than reusable takeaway packaging.

While McKinsey has declined to answer questions about who funded its study, five industry trade groups – representing the paper, paper packaging, cartons, and corrugated cardboard sectors – also published a report on 6 April, dated to March, with identical findings, which cited McKinsey’s then-unpublished data.

These reports followed a study published by the EPPA in June last year on reusable packaging. “Making reusable containers for takeaway obligatory will undermine the EU’s environmental goals,” the trade group claimed, following the publication of its report.

However, as with the Kearney study, the industry groups, EPPA, and McKinsey have been criticised by NGOs for failing to publish their full methodology and assumptions. And, like the McDonald’s-backed study, none of these reports appear to consider the broader environmental benefits to the public from a switch to reuse (for example from reduced plastic pollution), nor the wider environmental impacts of single-use packaging, such as land use or biodiversity loss.

Together for Sustainable Packaging said that “while the EU Commission conducted an initial impact study, it lacked depth.” The group added that, “real world data shows significant challenges with retaining reusables in restaurants, impacting reuse rates and worsening environmental risk … It is normal for companies or associations to want to see legislation drafted and enacted on the basis of the best available facts.”

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) responded on behalf of the five trade groups, claiming that its study hoped to “remedy” a “lack of scientific evidence on the impact of fossil-based reusable packaging.” It also stated that “nobody wants to have a failed environmental model on their hands.”

But Christian Hitt said that a lack of data transparency is causing these industry-funded studies to fail. Scientists should be sharing findings, critiquing and peer-reviewing each other’s work, in order to create “a greater understanding of the system,” he said.

McDonald’s is saying “trust us”, he said, while “producing something that can’t be fact checked.”

  • 1

    “No Silver Bullet – Why a mix of solutions will achieve circularity in Europe’s informal eating out (IEO) sector”, panel event in European Parliament, February 28, 2023. Recording on file at DeSmog.


What has McDonald's done to reduce plastic waste? ›

In 2018, McDonald's published its sustainability strategy and targets, which included moving to 100% renewable, recycled or certified sources for packaging by the end of 2025.

How is McDonald's reducing food waste? ›

In restaurants in the U.S., one of the key ways we are addressing food waste reduction is through enabling food donations, including contributions of excess ingredients.

What is McDonald's goal regarding waste? ›

Our commitment and goals

We believe that the future of materials is circular and that we need to close the loop on waste. Our big goal is to make sure that, by 2027, McDonald's restaurant waste is given a second life so that nothing is truly wasted – instead it is recycled, reused or composted.

What does waste biodegrading in landfill produce McDonald's? ›

Greenhouse Gas

Landfill gas including carbon dioxide and methane emissions are produced from biodegradable items. Greenhouse gases including methane are produced where organic materials, including food scraps, decomposes anaerobically.

Is McDonald's packaging sustainable? ›

A McDonald's spokesperson said: “Over 90% of the packaging we use comes from recycled or renewable sources, and can be recycled. We remain committed to finding innovative ways to tackle the issue of packaging waste and are trialling a number of initiatives to help reduce littering.

What is an example of greenwashing McDonald's? ›

#4: McDonalds

McDonald's is no stranger to controversy, from its notoriously unhealthy menu – to its repeated greenwashing campaigns. From opening a solar powered restaurant in the UK, to making false claims about sustainably sourced Canadian meat, McDonald's has fought hard over the years to appear ethical.

How does McDonald's negatively affect the environment? ›

Emissions linked to deforestation, feed production, and belched methane from cows make the company a significant contributor to climate change. At more than 53 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, McDonald's produces more emissions than Norway, Bloomberg says.

How is McDonald's damaging the environment? ›


McDonald's are the world's largest user of beef. Methane emitted by cattle reared for the beef industry is a major contributor to the 'global warming' crisis. Modern intensive agriculture is based on the heavy use of chemicals which are damaging to the environment.

Is McDonald's changing their packaging? ›

The new McDonald's packaging is designed to be recognizable no matter where orders are being assembled, shared, and enjoyed in the world. Evocative graphics make it easy to understand.

What is the offensive strategy of McDonalds? ›

Recommended strategy for McDonalds

The main goal of the stay-on-the-offensive strategy is to be a proactive market leader. The principle of this strategy is to continually stay one step ahead of your competitors and force them to play catch up.

What is McDonald's packaging made out of? ›

McDonald's has set a larger goal for all of its customer packaging to come from renewable, recycled or certified sources by 2025. Currently, 80% of its packaging comes from such sources. It is also using paper straws and wooden cutlery in multiple markets, it said, and is exploring fiber lids and reusable cups.

Does McDonald's produce a lot of waste? ›

The internationally recognised fast-food chain McDonald's produces about three tonnes of packaging waste every minute, almost two million tonnes of packaging waste a year.

Is McDonald's a big polluter? ›

At more than 53 million metric tons of carbon per year, McDonald's produces more emissions than Norway — and that number is still rising. For the past decade, McDonald's has vowed to address the planet-warming problem behind its most popular menu item.

Why doesn't McDonald's decompose? ›

See, a McDonald's hamburger is small and thin, giving it a very high ratio of surface area to volume. It is cooked well-done on a very hot griddle. These factors contribute to rapid moisture loss, resulting in a burger that dries out long before it can start to rot.

What is the problem of fast-food packaging? ›

Plastic and styrofoam takeaway containers are destructive to the environment, causing landfills with their inherent chemicals, including petroleum and natural gas.

Why did McDonald's change their packaging? ›

What prompted the redesign? Was McDonald's packaging out of date? The packaging redesign is part of a broader brand evolution. With so much fresh and new at McDonald's—from smart kiosks to menu innovations—it made sense for the global packaging to change in step with the direction the brand is taking.

What is the most unsustainable food packaging? ›


Consumers typically use this material for beverage cups, packing peanuts and food containers. It's some of the worst packaging for the environment because Styrofoam doesn't break down quickly. In fact, Styrofoam takes around 500 years to decompose.

Who supplies packaging to mcdonalds? ›

At Detpak, we design, manufacture, and supply the FMCG, grocery and foodservice industry with world-class paper and cardboard packaging products, delivered with the level of service and care you'd expect from a family-owned business like ours. And we've been doing it since 1948.

Which companies are known for greenwashing? ›

Below is a selection of well-known household names who have garnered greenwashing attention.
  • Volkswagen. In 2015, Volkswagen was found to have cheated emission tests by making its diesel cars appear far less polluting than they are. ...
  • McDonald's. ...
  • Coca-Cola. ...
  • IKEA. ...
  • Nespresso. ...
  • Starbucks. ...
  • Walmart. ...
  • H&M.
Mar 10, 2023

Why McDonald's is greenwashing? ›

A prominent climate group accused the McDonald's corporation of another greenwashing stunt on Monday after the burger giant announced it would cut global greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050.

Did McDonald's greenwash? ›

McDonald's has today opened its first net zero restaurant, but some experts have accused the fast food chain of "greenwashing". The restaurant in Market Drayton, Shropshire, is powered by on-site solar panels and wind turbines, insulated with British sheep's wool and cladded with recycled IT equipment and white goods.

What is McDonald's biggest threat? ›

Stiff competition from rival companies is one of the greatest threats to McDonald's growth and development. McDonald's operates in a highly competitive market with numerous well-established fast food chains, and each of them is striving to capture the largest market share.

What ethical issues has McDonald's faced? ›

Environmental Ethics

McDonald's has been accused of having a negative impact on the environment in more than one way; revolving around the fact that they have built hundreds of factories around the world to produce their products; therefore leading to pollution.

What does McDonald's do ethically? ›

McDonald's condemns all forms of slavery, forced labor, human trafficking, or exploitation, and we prohibit such practices across our business, supply chain and all McDonald's brand restaurants.

What is McDonald's doing to reduce their carbon footprint? ›

Conserving forests – We are committed to eliminating deforestation in our supply chains to reduce our emissions from land use change. Supplier emissions – We focus on reducing energy usage at supplier facilities, sourcing renewable energy, transportation efficiency and reducing waste.

Is Mcdonalds a good work environment? ›

73% of employees at McDonald's USA say it is a great place to work compared to 57% of employees at a typical U.S.-based company. Source: Great Place To Work® 2021 Global Employee Engagement Study. When you join the company, you are made to feel welcome. Management is competent at running the business.

Is McDonald's packaging recyclable? ›

McDonald's food packaging is recyclable. As a result, as long as no food is stuck in your box, you may effortlessly recycle it! Is recycling McDonald's bags possible? McDonald's bags are composed of easily recyclable fiber materials, so if there is no evidence of food or liquid in them, you may easily recycle them!

Why is McDonald's green in Europe? ›

This represents a change of direction that the brand has taken in Europe, with which they intend to reposition themselves as a company with a healthier and more eco-friendly attitude, in tune with the new times. Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Spain were the pioneering countries in this movement.

Why did McDonald's get rid of plastic toys? ›

In a statement, the company said this move away from plastic and toward more renewable materials is cost-neutral — meaning it's not a money-saving strategy, but a response to an increased customer demand for climate-consciousness.

Why is McDonald's charging for paper bags? ›

This helps to reduce the potential touchpoints between our crew and our customers as food items are exchanged.

What is the controversy with McDonald's? ›

Beef content in hamburgers

Lawsuits were brought against the McDonald's Corporation in the early 1990s for including beef in its US French fries despite claims that the fries were vegetarian. In fact, beef flavoring is added to the fries during the production phase.

What is the McDonald's Golden Rule? ›

The golden rule says 'treat others the way you want to be treated'.

Why are they protesting McDonald's? ›

McDonald's workers in 12 U.S. cities walked off the job Tuesday to protest what they say is an ongoing problem of sexual harassment and violence in the company's stores.

What is the packaging waste regulation in France? ›

The French Packaging Act, also known as Responsabilité Élargie du Producteur (REP), is an environmental law that ensures companies pay for the amount of consumer packaging they send to French customers. This includes plastic, paper, cardboard, aluminum, wood and glass.

When did McDonald's stop using Styrofoam packaging? ›

1990: McDonald's bids farewell to foam containers.

What does McDonald's do with leftover food? ›

As a result, our restaurants waste less than 1% of edible food stock. Unfortunately we can't send cooked food to be eaten elsewhere as this would breach our food safety policies, but we do send all leftover food for composting, rendering or anaerobic digestion.

Who produces the most food waste in the world? ›

China and India produce more household food waste than any other country worldwide at an estimated 92 million and 69 million metric tons every year, respectively. This is unsurprising, considering both countries have by far the largest populations globally.

What industry wastes the most food? ›

Grocery Store Food Waste

About 30 percent of food in American grocery stores is thrown away. US retail stores generate about 16 billion pounds of food waste every year. Wasted food from the retail sector is valued at about twice the amount of profit from food sales.

Who is the biggest food waste in the world? ›

Click on a tile for details.
  • China. The gross amount of food waste in China exceeds 91 million tons. ...
  • India. The gross amount of food waste for India exceeds 68 million tons. ...
  • United States.

Does McDonald's have a bad reputation? ›

Despite its ubiquitous worldwide popularity, McDonald's has a bad reputation, at least here in the United States. It is the frequent butt of jokes about its low quality food, questionable ingredients and shady business practices.

What are the 12 most polluting companies? ›

Those brands are: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch InBev, McDonalds, Mondelez International, Heineken, Tesco, Carlsberg Group, Suntory, Haribo, Mars and Aldi.

Why is McDonald's losing color? ›

McDonald's (MCD) restaurants across Europe are removing the red background behind the golden arches logo and replacing it with green. The change is supposed to make customers associate the company with a commitment to the environment. "We want to clarify our responsibility for the preservation of natural resources.

Is McDonald's declining? ›

McDonald's revenue fell short of expectations in the second quarter as coronavirus restrictions shuttered stores in China and higher prices took a toll on U.S. demand. The Chicago burger giant said its revenue fell 3% to $5.72 billion in the April-June period.

Why is McDonald's not selling burgers? ›

Breakfast and main menu items cook at different temperatures. McDonald's need the same set of equipment to cook sausage and eggs and beef patties. There is limited space in the kitchen and fast food restaurants have the maximum amount of grills already.

Why we should not eat packaged food? ›

Buying processed foods can lead to people eating more than the recommended amounts of sugar, salt and fat as they may not be aware of how much has been added to the food they are buying and eating. These foods can also be higher in calories due to the high amounts of added sugar or fat in them.

What are 3 harmful effects of food packaging? ›

Exposure to these is associated with harmful effects on the body such as:
  • Elevated cholesterol levels.
  • Reproductive – low infant birth weights.
  • Immune- lowering of immune function.
  • Liver and kidney damage.
  • Thyroid function disruption.
  • Cancer in some cases.
Oct 21, 2018

Why is food packaging an ethical issue? ›

Product packaging takes valuable resources to produce, involves processes which pollute air and water, and is often thrown out at the end of its short life, ending up in landfill.

How has McDonald's tried to help the environment? ›

Packaging, Toys & Waste

Approximately 82.7% of our packaging materials and 96.8%1 of our primary fiber packaging comes from recycled or certified sources.

What are McDonald's doing to be environmentally friendly? ›

By 2030, McDonald's has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 36%, globally, saving 150 million metric tonnes of CO2, and to source all packaging from renewable or recycled sources by 2025. All the energy McDonald's buys to run its restaurants comes from renewable wind and solar power.

Is McDonald's done with plastic toys? ›

McDonand's pledges to phase out plastic in Happy Meal toys

On Tuesday, the company announced they will drastically cut its use of plastic by the end of 2025. One way they'll do that is by replacing the 1 billion children's toys it sells each year with cardboard or recycled or plant-based plastics.

What negative effects does McDonald's have on the environment? ›

Emissions linked to deforestation, feed production, and belched methane from cows make the company a significant contributor to climate change. At more than 53 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, McDonald's produces more emissions than Norway, Bloomberg says.

How does McDonald's operate ethically? ›

At McDonald's we hold ourselves and conduct our business to high standards of fairness, honesty, and integrity. We are individually accountable and collectively responsible. We take seriously the responsibilities that come with being a leader.

Is McDonald's socially responsible? ›

As an integral part of society, McDonald's is committed to fulling our corporate social responsibilities, building a sustainable community and creating values for the environment and society at large.

How does McDonald's use greenwashing? ›

McDonald's has a prior reputation of "greenwashing," aka making itself and its goals sound more environmentally friendly than they are. For example, in 2019 it came to light that the apparently eco-friendly paper straws the chain used to replace plastic straws were actually non-recyclable, according to The Independent.

Who makes packaging for McDonald's? ›

At Detpak, we design, manufacture, and supply the FMCG, grocery and foodservice industry with world-class paper and cardboard packaging products, delivered with the level of service and care you'd expect from a family-owned business like ours. And we've been doing it since 1948.

Does McDonald's cut down rainforests? ›

McDonald's Corp. has ties to deforestation and labor abuses in Brazil's Pantanal wetlands and in the Amazon rainforest, which plays a crucial role in regulating the world's climate, according to a report published Wednesday by Reporter Brasil, an independent research group focused on environmental and labor issues.

Which food product has the largest carbon footprint? ›

Beef has the highest carbon footprint of any food. This is because of what is required to raise and farm cattle. Animals used for beef production require a tremendous amount of feed, which must be grown on its own.

Does reducing food waste reduce carbon footprint? ›

And if food goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane—a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide. About 6%-8% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced if we stop wasting food.

Why did McDonald's stop Happy Meal toys? ›

In a statement, the company said this move away from plastic and toward more renewable materials is cost-neutral — meaning it's not a money-saving strategy, but a response to an increased customer demand for climate-consciousness.

Why doesn't McDonald's do toys anymore? ›

McDonald's is cutting its plastic toys from its Happy Meals in a bid to make them more environmentally friendly. From 2021 the fast food chain will offer alternative soft or paper-based toys or a book instead.

When did McDonald's stop doing boy and girl toys? ›

The American arm of Mickey D's abandoned this practice in 2008, after 11-year-old Antonia Ayres-Brown wrote numerous letters to the company about the issue. They initially dismissed her concerns until a later study found that staff actively labelled the toys as “boy” and “girl” toys.


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