Recently, McDonald’s published the 2012 Global Best of Green, our third catalogue of some 90 leading environmental best practices that make our restaurants, and our business, more sustainable.
This year, we collaborated with outside experts from Business for Social Responsibility, Ceres, Conservation International and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to select the “best of the best” across all eight categories included in the report: Energy, Packaging, Anti-littering, Recycling & Waste Reduction, Logistics, Communications, Greening our Restaurants and Greening the Workplace. The Planet Champion winner for Anti-littering was Leading the Way Toward Cleaner Streets in Australia. Through a focus on litter reduction for more than 20 years, McDonald’s Australia has continued to engage its restaurant employees, staff and customers to control the impacts of litter around restaurants in Australia in innovative and effective ways.
Adrian Cullen, the National Environmental Manager for McDonald’s Australia, oversees this program and provides his thoughts on the program and the importance environmental responsibility plays in the company’s long term success.
1) McDonald’s Australia has been focusing on litter reduction as a key environmental priority for more than two decades. Why is this such an important issue for the company?
- Through our nationwide Clean Streets programs we have a longstanding commitment to educating customers on the importance of discarding their litter appropriately as well as to cleaning up inappropriately discarded litter in and around our restaurants. To reduce the amount of McDonald’s litter on surrounding footpaths, parks and streets, we stepped up our commitment and introduced a litter patrol tool kit, which involves restaurant crew picking up McDonald’s and other litter beyond the restaurant boundary.
- Litter is a topic of great importance to our customers and community stakeholders. Some key facts:
- Litter, packaging and recycling are the environmental issues our customers most want us to address.
- We are in our 21st year of a partnership with ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ – a national volunteer initiative to clean up litter that involves participation from our restaurant crew and corporate staff
2) What other environmental issues does McDonald’s Australia consider key to its long-term success? What are you doing to improve your performance against these priorities?
- Waste Recycling – we are constantly looking at opportunities to use our waste as a resource whether it be through the recycling of cardboard or conducting a back of house recycling trial which involves pulling our organics out of the waste stream. McDonald’s Australia aims to divert as much of our waste as possible from going to landfill.
- Energy Efficiency – to maximize opportunities for operational efficiency and minimize environmental impacts of our restaurants. The means evaluating how we can operate our restaurants more efficiently through the introduction of best practice procedures, investing in equipment and exploring opportunities which include - High Efficiency HVAC systems, LED lighting and renewable energies.
- Sustainable Building and Design –McDonald’s Australia will aim to become the first QSR in Australia to build an accredited 4 Star Green Restaurant. The design and construction of an accredited Green Star McDonald’s restaurant will put us ahead of our competitors and at the forefront of this increasingly important area for business. Partnering with the Green Building Council of Australia, the new restaurant features a range of Green Building Initiatives that target waste, water and energy efficiencies.
3) As McDonald’s Australia’s National Environmental Manager, what do you see as the company’s biggest challenges and opportunities to greening its restaurants and the business as a whole?
- Cultural habits around energy efficiency and waste recycling
- Limited infrastructure to achieve ambitious environmental goals such as zero waste to landfill
- There will be opportunities for McDonald’s Australia to develop new operations that help protect the environment; reduce energy, materials, and water consumption, and minimise waste and pollution. Research and development and innovation will give rise to new business relationships, the need for new diagnostic tools, delivery of new training and skills and even new business finance models.
- Combining innovative thinking to help reduce the use of natural raw resources and the implementation of strategy to produce less waste going to landfill is an exciting challenge for sustainable businesses practice.
- We are going to continue to grow as a business and will require new equipment, greater capacity (dual and tandem drive thrus) so the challenge will be to mitigate these increases and operate more efficiently