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Origin Green


McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in Ireland on Grafton Street in May 1977.  Since then, the company has grown into one of Ireland’s largest employers with over 4,800 staff at 89 restaurants across Ireland.

Today, we are proud to serve Irish people with some of their favourite food, welcoming over 150,000 customers each day in Ireland. As we work toward building a better McDonald’s, we are committed to making sustainability a priority.  We are committed to putting people, processes and practices into place to make sustainability the new normal – for our business, society and the world at large.

Click here to view the Origin Green Sustainability Report 2016

Making sustainability the new normal

Sustainable sourcing projects are managed with the support of the Global Sustainability Sourcing team.  Some key achievements to date include:

  • We source 100% Rainforest Alliance certified coffee

  • We source 100% Marine Stewardship Council certified fish

  • We are proud to source many products and ingredients from Irish suppliers such as beef from over thousands of Irish farms, bacon from Dew Valley, Ballygowan water, Flahavans porridge oats, free range eggs from Greenfield Foods as well as products from Kerry Foods, Leestrand Dairies and Gempack. McDonald’s in Europe is the single largest purchaser of Irish beef by volume and one in every five hamburgers sold in McDonald’s across Europe every year is of Irish origin. The company also exports Irish dairy produce, bacon and eggs into the McDonald’s system internationally.

All of our restaurants recycle food waste, cardboard, used cooking oil and mixed plastics


Our sustainability credentials

Being a modern, progressive burger company starts with making every customer visit simple, easy and enjoyable. It also means supporting and leading meaningful change our customers notice across our industry, our value chain and the communities we serve.

Sustainable Beef

McDonald’s in Europe has been working towards sustainable beef for more than 10 years through the McDonald’s Agricultural Assistance Programme (MAAP), Flagship Farms and through additional country level initiatives.

In Europe, McDonald’s chaired the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform Beef Working Group until 2015. In the SAI published developed a new set of Principles for Sustainable Beef Farming with wide support from the industry. These principles align with global priorities and principles of the GRSB.

The SAI group has now developed the necessary practical detail on what is expected at farm level to achieve the Principles for Sustainable Beef Farming, known as the SAI Platform Beef Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA). The FSA has now been tested on more than 90 farms across Europe and is due to be published later in 2016. Together with the Principles for Sustainable Beef Farming, the FSA will become the reference tool for beef sustainability programmes across Europe. The implementation of the FSA will provide:

  1. Formal recognition of the many sustainability practices European beef farmers already employ;
  2. The identification of priority sustainability gaps at the national level;
  3. A mechanism to track and verify progress against these priority areas.

Origin Green in action

Origin Green, a sustainability initiative by Bord Bia – the Irish Food Board, will become the first European sustainability programme to pilot the implementation of the FSA. Origin Green is the only sustainability programme in the world which operates on a national scale, uniting government, the private sector and food producers, through Bord Bia.  0ver 90% of Irish beef output is covered by Origin Green, through the 48,000 farms that have been assessed and certified as members of the Bord Bia Beef & Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme. Participating farms are assessed on measures ranging from their carbon footprint to water to energy to biodiversity. Through this work, Origin Green enables Ireland’s farmers to set and achieve measurable sustainability targets, reduce environment impact and serve local communities more effectively.

The McDonald’s Flagship Farm programme was developed in conjunction with the Food Animal Initiative to encourage sharing of best practices.  Flagship farms demonstrate excellent practice in at least one area of sustainability, while also operating to generally high standards in all other areas.  The aim is to encourage dialogue between farmers, demonstrate the benefits of sustainable practices and promote their broader adoption across the farming community to continuously improve and innovate.  There are 25 Flagship Farms across Europe, 3 of which are located in Ireland – dairy farmer Eoin McCarthy in Kerry, beef farmer Ray Dempsey in Co. Laois and beef farmer John Power in Co. Waterford.

Our Planet Champions employee engagement programme was launched in 2012, with a representative in each store who is responsible for supporting the Business Manager in the areas of recycling, litter and community. 

Energy Savings - In 2008, McDonald’s began a program to install LED units where possible and since then, over 7,000 LED light fittings have been fitted in our restaurants, delivering approximate savings of 10,792,320 kWh to date. 

Water Savings – 70% of our restaurants are now fitted with URIMAT waterless urinals, which we conservatively estimate saves over 12 million litres of water per year.

Our goal in relation to the Origin Green charter is to further strengthen brand trust and awareness of key sustainability initiatives with our customers, employees and key stakeholders in Ireland.

Currently, McDonald’s sources products from Irish suppliers of which 60% are verified Origin Green members. A clear target for the company is to increase this number over the coming years and throughout the duration of the plan. In addition, a key goal is to continue to improve the sustainability of the company while reducing our carbon footprint. Our Origin Green targets include:

N3 Cleanup

Energy Savings - We will have 100% of our restaurant lobbies, toilets and crew facilities fitted with energy-saving lighting by the end of 2018 (approximately 90% LEDs and 10% CFLs)

Water Savings – We aim to have waterless urinals installed in 100% of our restaurants by the end of 2018.

Social responsibility

Community involvement for McDonald’s is about building relationships with customers and developing trust.   It all started with our founder Ray Kroc, who believed that ‘giving back’ to the community was an essential part of doing business.  Our community involvement is an essential part of our brand and corporate culture and we have a varied programme of community involvement right across Ireland, which is rooted in our local areas.  The overall framework of McDonald’s business means that each business manager or licensee can determine the most relevant and appropriate way for them to contribute locally.  This can be as simple as being a helping hand by providing a water station for a local charity race, organising much needed equipment for local sports clubs or improving the appearance of the local area through litter collections.  

In addition to this our stores support The Ronald McDonald House Charity (RMHC) on an ongoing basis, with typical annual activities including charity cycles, golf classics and selling promotional cookies and Santa hats to raise much needed funds.

Food – Provide balanced choices

  • We aim to serve more fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy or wholegrains by 2020
  • We aim to reduce salt/sodium, sugar, saturated fat or calories across the menu by 2020

Sourcing - Source all of our food and packaging sustainably

  • We aim to begin purchasing sustainable beef by 2016
  • We aim to continue to purchase 100% MSC certified fish and RA certified coffee beans
  • We aim to source 100% fibre-based packaging from certified or recycled sources by 2020

Planet – Develop and operate the most environmentally efficient McDonald’s restaurants

  • We aim to increase energy efficiency of company-owned restaurants by 20% by 2020
  • We aim to increase the amount of in-restaurant recycling to 50% by 2020 and minimise waste

People – Committed to our people

  • We aim to create opportunities for our people by providing lifelong skills and career opportunities
  • We aim to promote diversity and inclusion by fostering a work environment that values the unique contributions of all

Community – Give back to our communities

  • We aim to improve the lives of children and their families through ongoing support of Ronald McDonald House Charities and other organisations
  • We aim to strengthen communities by addressing needs such as education and physical activity

Keeping the Plan Alive

We recognise that lasting change starts with partnerships, including our global network of franchisees, suppliers and employees.  We will ensure that our relationships underpin and support our Origin Green commitments, and that those commitments are monitored and adhered to throughout the McDonald’s Ireland organisation. 

The Green Large Organisation Award Finalist
The Green Large Organisation Award Finalist