Responsible business practices are not only good for the planet, but also for the bottom line
In an era marked by increasing awareness of environmental concerns and a growing demand for corporate responsibility, McDonald’s South Africa has emerged as one of the leading figures in the realm of sustainable agriculture.
Smart agriculture embraces innovation to combine diverse and sustainable methods to tackle the climate challenges of specific coffee farming communities that farm the popular bean. It embraces farming techniques such as soil and crop management, water conservation, all with the intent of improving farmer productivity to secure the livelihoods of farmers.
As one of the world’s most recognisable brands, the company has undertaken significant initiatives to reshape its supply chain, embracing practices that not only benefit the environment but also contribute to the long-term viability of the agricultural sector.
At the heart of McDonald’s, globally, sustainable agriculture efforts are a commitment to sourcing raw materials responsibly. The company recognises the impact that its operations can have on the environment and has set ambitious targets to mitigate these effects. One of the key pillars of the company’s sustainability strategy is the responsible sourcing of agricultural commodities, including beef, poultry, coffee beans and key ingredients for its iconic menu items.
Locally, taking its coffee choices to an ethical as well as environmental level, McDonald’s South Africa, through its coffee lifestyle brand, McCafé, does not simply believe in and endorse farming practices that protect the environment, but also how it can ensure protection of workers in the industry. Its alignment to the Rainforest Alliance (RFA) ensures all of this.
At McDonald’s South Africa, feel-good coffee not only describes the premium quality coffee beans used in every cup of great-tasting cup of McCafé coffee, but more meaningfully, demonstrates a commitment to sustainable coffee through climate-smart agriculture.
Customers can rest assured that McCafé recognises the global movement spearheaded by the RFA that protects the environmental and social practices which ensure coffee is grown and traded in ways that support communities and sustainable sourcing.
The RFA works with more than 40 000 certified coffee producers in Latin America, East Africa, and Asia. The RFA ensures that certified farms, from where McDonald’s sources its coffee, follow sustainable agricultural practices that protect the environment and promote biodiversity. To be certified, these farms must ensure human rights are applied, ongoing protection and consideration of the natural habitats of animals, reduce water usage, and limit the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals.
Smart agriculture embraces innovation to combine diverse and sustainable methods to tackle the climate challenges of specific coffee farming communities that farm coffee. It embraces farming techniques such as soil and crop management and water conservation, all with the intent of improving farmer productivity to secure the livelihoods of farmers.
In addition to responsible sourcing, the company has invested heavily in supporting farmers’ adoption of sustainable practices. The company’s “Scale for Good” initiative focuses on empowering farmers with the knowledge and resources to implement sustainable farming methods. This includes providing training on efficient water use, soil health, and biodiversity conservation. By supporting farmers in their transition to more sustainable practices, McDonald’s is not only enhancing the environmental impact of its supply chain but also contributing to the overall resilience of the agricultural sector.
The company’s commitment to sustainable agriculture is not confined to its direct operations. It has set clear goals to address the broader challenges facing the global food system. By leveraging its influence, McDonald’s aims to inspire positive change throughout the industry, encouraging other companies to adopt more sustainable practices.
The company’s journey towards sustainable agriculture has not been without challenges. Balancing the demand for affordable and convenient food with the imperative of sustainable sourcing requires careful navigation. However, McDonald’s South Africa is committed to finding innovative solutions that address these challenges while maintaining its core values.
One notable initiative is McDonald’s South Africa’s Power of the Bean. McDonald’s South Africa has remained committed to sticking to its RFA commitments, as this is the most responsible, ethically-sound way to let its customers enjoy the best coffee beans in the world and feel good about it.
Not only does it serve great tasting coffee, but it also ensures that it sources its coffee beans and treats its coffee waste in a sustainable way, putting the company on course to reach its goal of sourcing 100% more sustainable coffee.
The beans are ground in small batches at each McDonald’s South Africa outlet throughout the day and combined with its own special blending formula, using only high-quality coffee machines and equipment for brewing. The coffee delivered to the South African customer is consistently at the right temperature and flavour.
The coffee menu caters for every type of coffee drinker. From the coffee enthusiasts who enjoy a large brew, to flavour chasers who like a good latte or iced coffee, be that espresso-style or cappuccino, we heed our McCafé customer preferences.
Feel-good coffee exudes an enjoyable and holistic customer experience that is underpinned by a value that every customer can feel good about how McDonald’s South Africa uses its Scale for Good to make a positive impact on the environment.
For example, coffee waste is repurposed and recycled, with a highlight being the transformation into fertiliser for use in over 100 community vegetable gardens around the country, which creates jobs and employment opportunities.
Ground coffee waste is also used to manufacture the seed paper and germination cups for McDonald’s South Africa’s “Sow The Bean” campaign, whereby coffee lovers who purchase at McDonald’s South Africa’s restaurants,can redeem a collectable seed growing kit comprising chives, tomatoes, chilies and lettuce for home planting.
As consumers increasingly prioritise ethical and environmentally conscious choices, McDonald’s South Africa’s commitment to sustainable agriculture not only aligns with evolving market expectations but also sets a commendable standard for the entire business community.
By demonstrating that sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand, McDonald’s is proving that responsible business practices are not only good for the planet, but also for the bottom line.