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McDonald's Taps Local Partners to Pilot Sustainable Beef Program in New Zealand

Image Credit: Flickr, Stephen Poff

McDonald's has initiated two sustainable beef integration programs with Beef + Lamb New Zealand, ANZCO Foods and Silver Fern Farms as part of its aspiration to source verified sustainable beef around the world.

The program will highlight a range of best practices, from the farm all the way to the McDonald's customer. It will work with farmers and processors to identify and develop good management practices that support sustainable beef production. This means sustainable production systems, lower inputs, use of new technologies and a focus on animal welfare.

An important component of the initiative is using real farm businesses to model the principles and demonstrate success to the wider farming community through workshops, field days and social media.

McDonald's New Zealand Managing Director, Patrick Wilson, said McDonald's has committed to a goal of purchasing verified sustainable beef around the world, and that, locally, McDonald's New Zealand would work towards achieving this goal through close collaboration with stakeholders such as Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Silver Fern Farms and ANZCO Foods.

In 2013 McDonald's New Zealand sourced almost 11 million pounds of beef from local suppliers, including more than 1.5 million pounds of Angus. Local producers also exported 71 million pounds of beef to other McDonald's markets around the world.

Wilson said the Chicago-based McDonald's Corporation has invested $50,000 in the New Zealand program, and that learnings from the beef pilot would eventually be scaled out to other parts of the McDonald's New Zealand supply chain.

After making the pledge to begin purchasing verified sustainable beef earlier this year, McDonald's announced it would allow restaurants in different international markets to follow region-specific guidelines. However, the company said it will ask its beef suppliers to follow principles being developed by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef(GRSB), with indicators that are specific to their regions.

Based in San Francisco, Mike Hower is a sustainability strategist and storyteller on Edelman's Business + Social Purpose team where he works with some of the world's leading brands on corporate sustainability strategy and stakeholder engagement. With several years of… [Read more about Mike Hower]

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