McDonald’s, arguably the most well known fast food chain in the world is not at all what it seems. At first glance, you see McDonald’s as an above average unhealthy fast food place known for their sodium infested fries and their iconic Big Mac. However, the thing with being at the top is that there is almost always a massive negative effect on the environment, this is because of the need for more factories, warehouses, transportation, etc. In the case of McDonald’s, massive negative effect is an understatement.
To begin, many of McDonald’s items, including their signature big mac needs beef. The use of beef is not the issue, the issue is the rate at which they need it, produce it and use it. McDonald’s sells 1.5 million big macs every day of the year. And that’s just the big mac alone, with all the other burgers on the menu, a massive amount of beef being used.
Another problem with using beef is that unfortunately, beef is the most harmful meat towards the climate as the amount of cattle produces huge amounts of methane, around 5x the amount of chicken or pig. In fact, beef is such a big contributor to McDonald’s emissions that the use of beef alone is 1/3 of McDonald’s climate footprint.
In addition to the methane, McDonald’s also releases huge amounts of CO2 emissions. Using the Big Mac as another example, it is estimated that the production of 1 Big Mac releases around 2.35kg of CO2. To put this into perspective, 2.35kg of CO2 is the equivalent of driving an average car 12.7km. This along with the beef is resulting in huge amounts of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Thankfully, McDonald’s acknowledges this and is taking action.
McDonald’s has stated “In 2021, we joined the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, pledging to put McDonald’s on the path to net zero emissions by 2050”.
Global Warming is one of, if not the biggest global problem the world faces. Knowing that McDonald’s, an incredibly successful, international company is devoted to reaching net zero emissions is great news as not only will it lower their carbon footprint but it will also encourage other companies to join them on the path to net zero emissions by 2050.