Our approach

We have always strived to be an environmentally responsible business and we have made significant changes throughout the history of our operations as our understanding of environmental impacts has improved.

To learn more about McDonald’s world wide commitment to sustainability please visit our global social responsibility website.


Restaurant operations

We focus on the key areasof Environmental Impact related to our restaurant operations, including energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and waste generation. We continually strive to improve and currently have a number of new initiatives and trials underway to help us meet our environmental goals.  

Energy use and greenhouse emissions

In our operations, energy use accounts for the bulk of C02 emissions so our focus in this area is primarily on reducing electricity consumption. We report our greenhouse gas emissions under the federal government’s National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act and the results for this are published online by the Department of Climate Change

Water usage

We have participated in the Sydney Water Every Drop Counts business program since 2001 and currently 194 restaurants in the Sydney Water Catchment are registered with the program. Participation in the program helps monitor water usage, identify opportunities for improved water management practices and helps implement water saving measures.

Keeping the streets clean

Our Clean Streets program includes initiatives designed to keep the area around our restaurants tidy and clean. The key to this is the Litter Patrol program which is a structured and regular task for crew members who pick up litter from within the restaurant grounds and in neighbouring streets.

Within the Clean Streets program we also use packaging, restaurant traymats and car park signage to remind our customers not to litter.

Corporate operations

Our corporate operations need to set the example for our restaurants, and they do. Similar energy and water saving products are installed in the offices as those in place in the restaurants.

These include rain water tanks, dual flush toilets, water restrictors on taps and sensor lighting in the car parks.


Sustainable supply

Our responsibility to the environment spans the entire life cycle of our products. It starts with the fresh ingredients at the farm and the design of our food packaging, and extends through food manufacture, customers and waste disposal.

Our environmental guidelines for suppliers are:

  • Maximise water use efficiencies and eliminate the release of wastes and by-products into the environment via water;
  • Minimise the release of harmful by-products into the atmosphere;
  • Maximise energy use efficiency and use ecologically sustainable renewable sources when feasible;
  • Minimise waste production, maximise recycling, and ensure proper handling and disposal of solid waste;
  • Maintain soil health by controlling erosion and improving the structure and fertility;
  • Preserve natural habitats for native species and protection of biodiversity; and
  • Minimise the use of chemical pest management inputs that impact human, animal, and environmental health.

We use a scorecard to measure supplier environmental performance for water, waste, energy and emissions related to the manufacture of McDonald’s products. Reporting is conducted quarterly and annually and significant improvements have been tracked by many of our suppliers.

When it comes to packaging and waste we are continuing to explore options to decrease our environmental impact. Our first priority is to reduce the resources and materials being used wherever possible. We are a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant which commits participants to a national recycling target of 65 per cent for packaging and no further increases in packaging waste to landfill. Our action plan can be downloaded through this link.

Our annual report can be downloaded here.

Advocacy and partnerships

More and more we are working with experts, environmental organisations and government agencies to learn from them, offer our support and build cooperative relationships.

In 2010 we signed up to the Sustainability Advantage program run by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water to assist us in improving our sustainability initiatives. Other relationships include those in place with Sydney Water, the National Packaging Covenant, and the Australian Government through the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism’s Energy Efficiency Opportunities Program and the Department of Climate Change’s National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act.

In addition we have offered our support to the following organisations and initiatives over several years:

Culture and communication

A focus on the environment is part of our culture and affects the decisions we make every day. Continuous improvement is also an important part of Macca’s overall business culture and this attitude also directs our journey towards environmental sustainability.

We have numerous communication channels in place to inform our people of environmental initiatives and encourage participation in events such as Clean Up Australia Day.