Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Environment
  2. Food & Farming
10 December 2021updated 05 Oct 2023 8:22am

The Big Mac goes in for Big Greenwash

The first UK net-zero McDonald's restaurant hasn’t got the memo on beef.

By The Chatterer

Visit the new McDonald’s restaurant in the town of Market Drayton, Shropshire, this month, and you will be able to nibble your Big Mac not just in any old garden, but a “biodiversity” garden; admire not just any old wall art, but wall art made from “used” coffee beans; enter not via any standard “drive-thru” lane, but one made from recycled tyres.

You will, in other words, be visiting the country’s first “net-zero carbon restaurant” (open 10 December), the global burger chain has promised. As long as you don’t eat the meat, that is.

The aspiration to build and operate a venue that meets net-zero standards is commendable at a time of rising carbon emissions. As is the company’s decision to offer its new vegan McPlant burger at its new outlet, in addition to its standard fare.

But McDonald’s restaurants without any animal-based food at all seem an unlikely prospect, and those that serve the standard menu will kick net-zero to the (recycled-plastic) kerb.

For it is the company’s supply chain, in particular its use of beef, chicken, dairy and other proteins – not its buildings – that produce the majority of its total emissions. The fast food giant’s beef footprint alone accounts for more than 22 million metric tons of greenhouse gases annually, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

McDonald’s may have set itself a global net-zero target by 2050, which will include its food supply chain too. But the International Panel on Climate Change has warned that global emissions must peak before 2030 to keep warming to 1.5°C. Waiting until 2050 to take on the world’s carbon-intensive meat consumption will be too McLate.

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action