McDonald’s announced a 5-year plan, with green lights!

You know the popularity of McDonald's, the songs of McDonald's can be catchy, and the literature of McDonald's can be memorized backwards.

You are familiar with the yellow color of McDonald's. In every hungry noon and lonely night, there is a capital yellow letter faintly appearing in your mind – M.

But when it comes to the "green" of McDonald's, you may know very little.

Recently, McDonald's officially announced at the 2023 "McMc Feast" event that it will take five years to make a good start for this new "green": it is McDonald's China's regenerative agriculture plan.

This is the first agricultural green development exploration plan jointly promoted by the catering industry chain.

Its success or failure is closely related to our future.

McDonald's "Green Shining" 5-year plan

What is the "Regenerative Agriculture Project"?

First, you can take a picture to understand:

If you don't understand it, let's talk about it in detail below.

The first thing is to announce the launch of the "McDonald's China Regenerative Agriculture Program" with nine major suppliers , namely: Tyson, Cargill, Sunner, Simplot, McCann, Lanwei, Bimbo, McCormick, Jinxian food.

McDonald's China purchases nearly 300 kinds of ingredients every year, of which more than 2/3 of the purchases are provided by these 9 suppliers – being able to grasp the "supply chain links" is an important part of making sustainable development successful.

They will focus on the five major areas of nature, soil, water, livestock, and farmers, so that the concept of regenerative agriculture will be spread more widely, green and low-carbon agriculture will develop faster, and it will be practiced on a more systematic scale.

Take specific examples: 1. Improve raw material procurement standards and promote a "zero deforestation" supply chain to protect forests and marine resources. That is to say, every process of food from the field to the table must ensure that it will not damage nature. For example, if raising cattle requires developing the rainforest and moving land, that is absolutely impossible;

Two, use cover crops or crop rotation to produce 40,000 mu of potatoes, do a "physical check" on the soil before planting, and continue to add new technologies to make the soil more fertile and healthy;

3. Optimize the protection and utilization of water resources, save water and protect water quality by upgrading facilities;

Fourth, it is worth mentioning that it pays attention to improving animal welfare. McDonald’s was the first company to bring the globally consistent animal breeding welfare standards into China more than 20 years ago. Provide a good living environment so that they can grow up healthily. McDonald's using this standard has already raised billions of chickens in China;

Fifth, at the same time, they also share new knowledge, technology and experience with Chinese farmers, so that these measures can be truly implemented and deeply rooted in the hearts of the people.

From the protection of the agricultural ecological environment to the protection of biodiversity, we can make the food we eat more natural, safe and endless.

▲This year, the chicken, beef, eggs, lettuce, potatoes and other ingredients we ate at Maimai Banquet are all produced by McDonald's regenerative agriculture.

McDonald's has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, and taking real action will bring us one step closer to our goal.

Bringing the timeline closer— the second thing McDonald's announced this time is to launch four major actions in the next five years.

These four major actions include: promoting and popularizing the concept of McDonald's China's regenerative agriculture, promoting the upgrading pilot of McDonald's China's regenerative agriculture, promoting the continuous implementation of McDonald's China's regenerative agriculture in line with China's agricultural reality, and establishing a cooperative ecological circle of McDonald's China's regenerative agriculture.

It sounds grand, but it's just the first phase.

Among these actions, McDonald's will focus on training more than 2,000 key farmers and agricultural managers within 5 years, benefiting more than 20,000 farmers, and building 10 "regenerative agriculture pilot farms" with suppliers, creating a platform for online and offline exchanges, learning and sharing. We will also cooperate with relevant scientific research institutions, competent departments and professional organizations to explore and expand influence, so that these ideas and achievements can be truly implemented. After all, only those that can be truly realized count.

The third thing is what we can perceive when we go to McDonald's.

Starting this Monday, we will be able to receive a member day discount package of French fries made from potatoes supplied by regenerative agriculture practices in the McDonald's app and applet. When you receive it, you will see pictures and videos sharing regenerative agriculture.

In April, more than 2,000 McDonald's will have green and low-carbon themed "McDonald's Parent-child Reading Club" and so on, so that we can be infected and encouraged in our daily life to promote a green lifestyle.

It's a long road, it's not easy to become "green"

It is really a long process to build a truly sustainable supply chain, and this process requires determination, perseverance and time, and I haven’t talked about the money yet.

Zhang Yaner, Vice President of Sustainable Development of McDonald's China Supply Chain, said.

We go to the "Mai Mai Banquet" almost every year, and this year is the 7th.

This is the annual brand event of McDonald's China. Every year, McDonald's will announce some new decisions at this event, such as:

In 2016, the menu change of "less salt, better oil, more fruits and vegetables" was announced;
In 2017, reaffirmed the food safety standards of the new McDonald's China;
In 2018, announced a sustainable development action plan, focusing on green restaurants and green packaging;
In 2019, announced the upgrade of Happy Meal to provide children with richer and more balanced meals;
In 2020, launch a modern apprenticeship program to help young people improve their employability;
In 2021, join hands with China to explore the moon and light up the dreams of children.

In fact, it can be seen that green sustainability has always been a key focus of McDonald's business.

▲ Gu Lei, Chief Impact Officer of McDonald's

McDonald's China mainly focuses its business on building greener restaurants and sustainable supply chains. We can also see many "green actions" in the world. For example, McDonald's in Norway turned garbage into advertisements to appeal to everyone not to litter, and McDonald's in Spain The 7 yuan black burger was launched to raise donations for the fire and so on.

This year, McDonald's China has focused on agriculture at the front end of the supply chain, and the "pattern" has also expanded, but as Zhang Yaner said, of course, there are more difficulties.

According to Professor Li Yu'e from the Institute of Agricultural Environment and Sustainable Development of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, "regenerative agriculture" mainly focuses on three aspects:

1. Improve soil health.
2. Reduce the environment (pollution).
3. Response to climate change.

Scientists around the world have put forward various concepts and development directions. Different from organic agriculture, ecological agriculture, and low-carbon agriculture, regenerative agriculture focuses more on the protection and restoration of agricultural production systems, promotes soil health, and enhances the impact of agricultural ecosystems on Climate resilience.

Although we have very diverse technologies to deal with, there are still very difficult challenges.

Regenerative agriculture technology will be affected by climate, soil, and planting system, and farmers also lack knowledge and skills. Regenerative agriculture that focuses on long-term interests also conflicts with farmers’ short-term interests. Lack of motivation.

The good side is that whether it is driven by large companies like McDonald's, or enterprises invest in the application of regenerative agricultural technology in the industrial chain, and provide farmers with technical training to increase income, regenerative agriculture will be realized faster.

Song Zhenhua, a farmer in Duozuo County, Inner Mongolia, has grown potatoes for McDonald’s for more than 20 years. He is a witness of agricultural technological reform:

In the past, we felt very hard. At the beginning, most of the potato planting in China was done by "small farmers". After 20 to 30 years of continuous promotion, we have today's large-scale, mechanized, technological, and modern planting mode. .

Although talking about regenerative agriculture, he said with a shy smile, "I'm still a beginner, and I don't know much about it yet. I don't have much to say, but I know it's a good thing, and it's the right thing."

When we talk about environmental protection and sustainability, we always feel that it is somewhat false. After all, "environmental protection" has become more and more a correctness of the brand, and even a publicity gimmick, but in fact it is really done well. Not much.

After all, the proof of sustainability is never just the moment we see food with "eco-labels", but the entire chain from its growth, picking, production, production, sales, etc. This is not an easy task.

Most enterprises do not have the ability, plan or even will not spend the cost to do the environmental protection of the whole chain – it requires communication, cooperation and landing from the downstream to the upstream of the industrial chain, and then to all walks of life.

▲ The wheat and wheat "vegetable" bags we received at the scene are all from the decorative fabrics recycled by McDonald's at the scene of the 2021 wheat and wheat banquet event

More and more large companies are taking action, and they are bringing more people into action—of course we still have reasons to question, and we also have reasons to make all links more transparent, but at the same time, we can at least encourage, support, and ourselves Also took action .

As Song Zhenhua said, no matter what, this is a good thing and a right thing.

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