McDonald’s Seeks 3% Energy Reduction Per Location, Kind Of

by | Jan 27, 2010

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mcdsOne of the “2008-2010” goals that McDonald’s points to in its  2009 Corporate Responsibility Report is to design its restaurant energy survey and optimization tools “to deliver an average 3% energy reduction per restaurant.”

But according to a company spokesperson, this isn’t actually a goal of a three percent reduction per restaurant. What it is is a statement that if a restaurant were to use all of the optimization tools that are available, it can average a three percent reduction.

The goal, as clarified, points to a difficulty in setting energy reduction goals when franchises are involved. But the company says that its decentralization is a strength as well, with individual restaurants and franchisees experimenting and testing some “very innovative environmental initiatives.”

The chain is mobilizing an internal Global Energy Council to prioritize energy saving opportunities throughout its supply chain and operations, and says it is making strides toward a more sustainable food chain by working with suppliers. Here are some highlights from the new report:

– The burger firm is working on a toaster that consumes 28 percent less energy.

– A forthcoming food holding cabinet can deliver 30 percent energy savings per cell.

– McDonald’s Germany opened its EE-Tec restaurant in Achim, with the goal of reducing energy use 30 percent compared to similar restaurants. Last year, McDonald’s previewed 10 energy efficient locations it has in prototype mode.

– McDonald’s France opened a green restaurant that uses solar hot water heaters and employs water-saving techniques.

– The restaurant chain continues to reduce the amount of packaging (by weight) per each product sold (see image).

– The chain, however, has reached a plateau when it comes to incorporating recycled content into packaging. After making steady progress, recycled content use has stagnated at 29.8 percent in 2007 and 2008 (see image).

– The chain is encouraging recycling by customers via a variety of methods, from having customers sort it themselves to having it occur by staff in the backroom.

– About 75 percent of U.S. locations are enrolled in a program to recycle used cooking oil. The average location recycles about 1,700 gallons a year.

– Some of the recycled cooking oil is turned into fuel for delivery trucks, such as in European operations.

– McDonald’s is adopting hydrofluorocarbon-free refrigerant equipment where possible.

– Locations in Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands are sourcing renewable energy.

– A location in Brazil is testing a wind turbine that generates up to 1.8 kilowatts. Solar is used in 15 Brazilian locations.

Last year, the chain developed its Global Best of Green marketing effort.

Here is a video about the chain’s CSR efforts.

This story has been updated with new information from McDonalds’s.

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