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Where Is McDonald's Headed with Sustainability? - 11th February 2014

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Tuesday 11th February 2014.
Sarah Mikesell - TheCropSite Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell
Senior Editor



Where Is McDonald's Headed with Sustainability?  

Last week, I covered the National Cattleman's Beef Association meeting (NCBA) in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Guest speaker Bob Langert, McDonald's VP of Global Sustainability, told US farmers and ranchers that "sustainability isn't broken," but it's "filled with opportunity."

McDonald's strategy is to change the mindset that sustainability is a nebulous term and something to be afraid of. They are focused on leveraging sustainability to grow their business while making a positive difference in society.

McDonald’s is dedicated to what they call the 3E's of a sustainable supply chain:

  • Ethics - both ethically for people and animals
  • Environment - treating the environment with respect
  • Economics - economic viability for farmers and McDonald’s

“Take a look at how we define a sustainable supply chain vision because sustainability is not just doing good - it’s providing a profitable system that yields high-quality, safe products without supply interruption,” he said. "It’s leveraging the 3E’s as well. It’s making an impact on our business and your business and the world at large. This is going to drive our work into the future.”

Langert said many farmers may be thinking, “hey, I’m already sustainable in what I’m doing,” and they very well may be. But thinking you’re sustainable isn’t good enough anymore.

“You have to prove it. You have to have evidence points. You have to not only say it, but you have to measure it, and at the end of the day, that’s what our customers are looking for. So it’s not just telling stories and saying trust us, it’s doing more,” he said.

"We came here to collaborate, not mandate. Our philosophy at McDonald's is that we have long-term relationships with our suppliers. Our whole spirit of working with the supply chain is hand-shake agreements," he said. "We're not one to dictate on high and prescribe how things get done and to me that's not sustainable either. We respect our suppliers - we respect that they are the experts."

He also spoke about the importance of transparency in the industry.

"I think the world is going to get even more transparent," Langert said. "So we had better embrace transparency as something to our advantage - both at McDonald's and in food and agriculture," he said.

He sees an opportunity to use transparency and show that agriculture is proud of what it's doing.

"We have a great system when you take a look at food, ag and beef - it's so affordable, so abundant, so safe, so high quality. I want people to know that we aren't looking at sustainability because it's broken; it's the exact opposite. There's a strong agricultural system out there that the consumer needs to know more about through transparency."

To hear more from Bob Langert, click here

Have a great week!

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