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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 streatment. 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.
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.
Consumer Packaging 2017
BE IT RESOLVED THAT: Shareowners of McDonald’s request that the board of directors issue a report at reasonable cost, omitting confidential information, assessing the environmental impacts of continued use of polystyrene foam beverage cups, including quantifying the amount that could reach the environment, and assessing the potential for increased risk of adverse health effects to marine animals and humans.
- — McDonald’s brings foam cups back to Chicago despite shareholder pressure
- — As You Sow calls out McDonald's, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target for polystyrene use
- — RELEASE: As You Sow asks four global brands to phase out polystyrene foam
Related 2017 Engagements
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:
- Globally in the poultry supply chain prohibit the use of antibiotics in classes of drugs used in human medicine for purposes other than treatment or non-routine control of veterinarian-diagnosed illness (e.g. for growth promotion and routine disease prevention), allowing only for use in treatment of veterinarian-diagnosed illness in a flock, and;
- Set global sourcing targets with timelines for pork and beef raised without the non-therapeutic use of medically-important antibiotics.
Related 2017 Engagements
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.
Related 2016 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.
- — As You Sow: Promoting Recycling One Company at a Time
- — Companies Are Removing Oil From Their Products to Cut Costs
- — McDonald's Coffe Cups Getting a Recyclable Makeover
Related 2012 Engagements
Consumer Packaging 2011
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.