McDonalds to Shift to “Sustainable Beef” (Once It Figures Out What That Is)

Starting in 2016, McDonalds will start purchasing something called “verified sustainable beef,” the fast-food giant announced today.

GreenBiz has the scoop:

“Our vision is to buy verifiable, sustainable beef in the future for all of our beef,” said Bob Langert, McDonald’s vice president, global sustainability. “We have achieved internal alignment and energy around that aspirational goal, which is a big task”…

Langert says McDonald’s isn’t yet ready to commit to a specific quantity it would purchase in 2016, or when it might achieve its “aspirational goal” of buying 100 percent of its beef from “verified sustainable sources.” (The company only will say, “We will focus on increasing the annual amount each year.”) Realistically, it could take a decade or more to achieve the 100-percent goal.

Sound like a lot of Mcfluff? Perhaps. While McDonalds is making a lot of its ambitious, if slow, changeover to sustainable beef, it first has to figure out what that actually means. Other fast food chains focus on sustainable-sounding descriptors — Chipotle’s beef is “responsibly raised,” while Five Guys’ is “fresh” — but none are “verified” sustainable, because such a certification doesn’t currently exist.

According to Greenbiz, McDonalds is working in tandem with a number of corporations and environmental organizations to change that. In 2012, they formed the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef, which is taking a expansive view of the concept of sustainability.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.