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Brief: McDonald’s pledges net zero emissions by 2050 targeting beef supply to energy sources

October 4, 2021

  • McDonald’s has joined the UN Race to Zero campaign and will work with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • The global fast food chain will rework its existing emissions-reduction efforts, set in 2018, to lower overall emissions across its operations — including its 40,000 restaurant locations — by roughly one third by 2030.
  • Adjustments to McDonald’s strategy will impact everything from its beef supply to its energy sources, according to a corporate blog post.

Why it matters:

McDonald’s is the latest in a growing list of agrifood companies to make similar announcements regarding climate-related targets. The UN says the world’s emissions have to fall to zero by 2050 in order to limit global temperature rise to no higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. A core focus of the upcoming COP26 summit in November will be on how people and companies globally can achieve that and stave off some of the worst impacts of climate change.

McDonald’s writes in its blog post that working with the UN and the SBTi will help the company advance “industry-leading innovations” in renewable energy, regenerative farming, circular economy, and sustainable packaging solutions.

“We believe we have both a privilege and a responsibility to help lead on issues that matter most in communities,” McDonald’s president and CEO Chris Kempczinski said in the post.

Race to Zero has more than 6,000 members and represents over 15% of the global economy and 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

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