McDonald’s Solves Sustainability Definition Problem

A recent article by explains to readers that McDonald’s has finally solved the problem of providing a definition for sustainability.  The article talks about how McDonald’s told the public that they will be transitioning to sustainable beef in 2016.  This sounds like an incredible thing.  McDonald’s, one of the largest beef users in the world, will be switching to sustainable methods! This will create shock-waves throughout the mass production business.  Everyone will begin being sustainable and the world will be a better place….

Unfortunately, this is not the case.  McDonald’s actually teamed up with another company to make a new definition of sustainable in order for them to claim their products are indeed ‘sustainable’. The company is called Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.  Sounds good right? Wrong.  This company has, according to, multiple conflicting interests of McDonald’s and other large meat corporations on their executive board.  In fact only two environmental groups are represented on the executive board, according to the article.

This new definition consists of: “stable, safe, employment for at least the minimum wage where applicable” and institute “where applicable, third-party validation of practices by all members of the value chain,” and that it should ensure “emissions from beef systems, including those from land use conversion, are minimized and carbon sequestration is optimized.” So that is what sustainability means, minimize your damage.  Not create something that is actually able to be used forever, or something that helps, or anything that seems to fit sustainable.  Just minimize your damage.  While this is a ridiculous attempt to try to make their meat seem healthier, which is probably a response to a previous post I read about how their beef can’t technically even be called beef anymore, it is at least an attempt nonetheless to become better.  While it is a very minor step, it is at least a step in the right direction.  Hopefully, next time they will take a larger step and start walking in the right direction.