If McDonald’s is serious about reducing its carbon footprint, it may need to rethink the hamburger

Exposing the Big Game

The company has an ambitious-sounding plan to curb its emissions. But can it really take a meaningful stance on climate change while selling more Big Macs?


In late March, McDonald’s issued a bold press releaseannouncing major cuts to its greenhouse gas emissions—a plan that will require the company to rethink not only how it lights and fuels its restaurants, but also how it sources its beef, which the company says amounts to 29 percent of its carbon footprint.

The changes will “enable McDonald’s to grow as a business without growing its emissions” through 2030, according to the press release, which offers some dazzling figures: a 36 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from restaurants and offices, and a 31 percent reduction in “emissions intensity” from its supply chain (including  beef), which will prevent the…

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