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Ceres Conference Panel Highlights McDonald’s Science Based Target

May 2, 2018
CERES Conference Panel

Last week, McDonald’s joined investors, leaders in business and sustainability to discuss the importance of climate action through Science Based Targets at the 2018 Ceres conference in Boston. McDonald’s sustainability team member Rachael Sherman provided valuable insight on a panel about companies setting such targets, including McDonald’s own climate action, announced in March as part of our Scale for Good program.

The panel, “Further, Faster, Together: Why Setting a Science Based Target is the New Normal in Leading Companies,” also included speakers from the Carbon Disclosure Project and World Wildlife Fund, two of the partners who make up the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), as well as Hewlett Packard Enterprises and Jones Lang LaSalle.

Business and sustainability representatives from a wide array of companies and organizations packed the room to learn more about SBTi overall and the specifics of how companies can set science based targets. Sherman, along with other panelists, provided an inside look at the methodical process and reporting requirements companies must undertake to establish a target, and why it’s viewed now as the industry standard.

McDonald’s is one of the first 100 companies around the world (as well as the first restaurant company) to set an approved science based target across 28 sectors including banks, customer products, real estate and customer services. Together, these companies have a market cap of $3.4 trillion dollars, equivalent to the London Stock Exchange as of March, and expect to prevent a total of 404 megatons of CO2e, equivalent to the annual emissions of 100 coal-fired power plants.

On March 20, McDonald’s committed to partner with Franchisees to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 36% by 2030 from a 2015 base year. Through collaboration and partnership with our suppliers and producers, the Company also committed to a 31% reduction in emissions intensity (per metric ton of food and packaging) across our supply chain by 2030 from 2015 levels.

Through these actions across our supply chain and in restaurants, we expect to prevent 150 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents (CO2e) from being released in the atmosphere by 2030.

Still, as Sherman emphasized on the Ceres panel, we can’t achieve this commitment alone: "We do our work in close partnership with suppliers and franchisees, and to achieve our science based climate target, we will only be successful by continuing to work in partnership.”