The McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, operating in 119 countries.

Recent News

As You Sow Files To Reduce Antibiotics In All Livestock

In 2015, McDonald’s adopted a U.S. policy to source chicken that is raised without antibiotics important to human medicine, but did not create a similar policy for pork, beef, or chicken sourced outside the U.S. As You Sow has co-filed a resolution with lead-filer Benedictine Sisters of Boerne, Texas to request that McDonald’s extend its policy on antibiotics to their global supply chain for all livestock.

This 2016 resolution requests that McDonald’s only allow antibiotics to be used for disease treatment. Over 70 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used on food-producing animals so that they gain weight or to prevent illness rather than to treat illness. This type of misuse of antibiotics is contributing to a global health crisis, according to World Health Organization.

Read the full shareholder resolution

McDonald's Agrees to Replace Paper for Polystyrene Cups at All U.S. Restaurants

After nearly three years of engagement with As You Sow, McDonald's agreed on September 24, 2013 to replace its polystyrene foam hot beverage cups with paper-based cups at all 14,000 U.S. restaurants.


As You Sow´s 2011 shareholder proposal asked McDonald´s to consider stronger environmental policies for its beverage containers, such as setting recycled content and post-consumer cup recovery goals. 29.3% of their investors supported the resolution, an excellent level of support for a first-year resolution. Following that remarkably high investor support and continued dialogue with As You Sow, the company unveiled a new pilot program in March 2012 replacing foam with paper cups at 2,000 of its U.S. stores. The company tested double-walled fiber hot cups at 15% of their stores, primarily on the West Coast, for consumer acceptance, operation impact, and overall importance.

We withdrew our 2012 resolution due to this concrete step towards phasing out of styrene foam-based cups and other planned company actions. The company has confirmed that the pilots were successful and that it will phase out foam cups at all locations in the coming months. We are pleased that the company decided to make the switch to paper cups permanent and expand it to all of its restaurants.

Paper cups also use significant energy and chemicals in their production, but do not persist in the environment for hundreds of years, as foam does, and are becoming more readily recyclable.

While this is a great first step, there is more work to do for the company to have a comprehensive packaging recycling policy. The company's competitor Starbucks uses 10% recycled paper fiber in its paper hot beverage cups. It has committed to recycle all post-consumer paper and plastic cups discarded in company-owned stores by 2015. It offers a discount for customers who bring reusable beverage containers into stores. We would like McDonald's to match Starbucks leadership in moving towards more environmentally responsible cups by developing recycling systems for post-consumer in-house beverage containers and using high levels of recycled content.


McDonald's Corp., the world's largest fast food franchise, has taken some good steps to make its food and beverage packaging more environmentally friendly. It is one of the largest purchasers of recycled paper, used in food containers, bags and napkins. Environmental Defense Fund worked with the company to phase out polystyrene foam-based clamshell food containers in the 1990s. However, the company continued to use billions of polystyrene-based beverage cups. Polystyrene is not widely recycled and has become pervasive in the marine environment, carried through storm drains to the ocean. It has been cited as among the most common debris found on beaches. Polystyrene breaks down into small indigestible pellets which animals perceive as food, resulting in the death of birds and marine mammals. 46 cities and counties in California have banned or restricted the use of polystyrene food packaging.

The production of styrene, a component of polystyrene, carries occupational safety risks. The International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that styrene is a possible human carcinogen. In 2009, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment proposed that it be listed as a known human carcinogen. Several epidemiologic studies suggest an association between occupational styrene exposure and an increased risk of leukemia and lymphoma.

Read more about our engagements with McDonald's below.

Antibiotics and Factory Farms 2016

STATUS: 26.3

BE IT RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Board update the 2015 McDonald’s Global Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Food Animals by adopting the following policy regarding use of antibiotics by its meat suppliers: Prohibit the use of antibiotics important to human medicine globally in the meat supply chain (including for chicken, beef, and pork), for purposes other than disease treatment or non-routine control of veterinarian-diagnosed illness (e.g. prohibit use for growth promotion and routine disease prevention also known as prophylaxis); Identify timelines for global implementation of vision including for meats currently not supplied by dedicated suppliers.

Filing Documents

Related 2016 Engagements

Consumer Packaging 2011

STATUS: 29.3%

McDonald’s Corp. has repeatedly emphasized its commitment to environmental leadership, yet continues to use polystyrene-based beverage cups 20 years after phasing out use of polystyrene-based clamshell food containers due to its negative environmental impact.

Filing Documents


Related 2011 Engagements

Consumer Packaging 2012

STATUS: Withdrawn; Company will address

McDonald’s Corp. has repeatedly emphasized its commitment to environmental leadership, yet lacks comprehensive post‐consumer recycling goals for beverage and food packaging and continues to use polystyrene beverage cups 20 years after phasing out styrene‐based clamshell food containers due to environmental impact.

Filing Documents


Find more McDonald’s 2012 press coverage and press releases.

Related 2012 Engagements