One of the country’s most cherished fast-food chains has been busy announcing new menu additions and cuts in recent weeks. But they’re also changing how some items are being created in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
McDonald’s is joining other brands like Target, Cargill, and The Nature Conservancy to reduce their carbon footprint. The partnership is putting $8.5 million toward improving soil and crops in farms in Nebraska. The state is a major supplier of McDonald’s beef.
The companies are hoping to put carbon into 100,000 acres of soil in the next five years, creating a healthier cycle of soil, crops, and animals. The efforts could get rid of a huge amount of carbon dioxide in the air — about 150,000 metric tons. This is equal to taking 32,000 cars off the road, according to their statement.
The partnership is using several methods to create healthier soil. One is called cover cropping and prevents soil erosion and nutrient depletion by simply covering the soil. Another limits soil tilling. A third adds different crops to each rotation to put nutrients back into the soil. Making sure the soil is as eco-friendly and hearty as possible means crops are healthy. The animals that eat the crops, like the ones used for McDonald’s beef, are healthier then, too.
“Sustainable and regenerative farming practices improve soil health and the soil’s ability to absorb carbon and remove it from the atmosphere, while also achieving better air and water quality, and potentially higher agricultural yields,” the statement says. “Farmers are at the center of this work – and we want to support them to help advance and scale these climate solutions.”
The partnership is part of McDonald’s Science Based Targets plan to reduce its carbon emissions by 36% in restaurants and offices, and 31% within the supply chain by 2030.
They aren’t the only chain looking to reduce their carbon footprint. At the beginning of the year, Starbucks announced its sustainability plan. One goal is to expand plant-based offerings — and they did just that earlier this summer with the launch of the Impossible breakfast sandwich.
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