"Sustainable McDonald's Germany" - Sustainable Value Creation and Healthy Diet

  • Project no.1439
  • Duration 11/2011 - 12/2015

The food sector is associated with high levels of resource use and occupation of arable land. In terms of total material requirements (TMR), the production of food and feed (including beverages) accounts for 465 million t per year and the sector ranks second in Germany in terms of resource use, right behind the construction industry.

Societal trends like increased mobility and flexibility of labour encourage out-of-house catering. In 2014 the take-away sector achieved over 71,1 billion Euros in sales. The sales figures illustrate that sustainable management in out-of-house catering (e.g. in schools, kindergartens, universities, hospitals, nursing homes, canteens or restaurants) may play a significant role with respect to the protection of resources and climate, as well as changing diets in Germany. As the market leader in system catering in Germany, McDonald's affects sustainability of people's dietary habits directly. In 2010, McDonald's has started to develop and implement a sustainability strategy with defined fields of activity and goals. These are continuously being implemented and refined.

The scientific interest of the Wuppertal Institute focused on possible transformative processes within the corporation towards more sustainable production und consumption patterns as well as their environmental and societal effects.

Core Research questions were:

  • Which sustainability potentials are within the scope of McDonald's influence along the value chain?
  • To which extent can McDonald's contribute to a (re-)configuration of more sustainable dietary habits?
  • Which future scenarios and strategies can be developed for McDonald's and the catering sector as a whole?
  • How can sustainability oriented change processes be initiated and which recommendations can be given?

Therefore, particular areas of research were:
"Sustainable Corporate Management"

  • Study "Sustainable McDonald's Germany"
  • Sustainability Strategy / Management

"Sustainable Value Chains"

  • Supply Chain Optimisation towards Sustainability

The results were presented in publications and events of diverse formats.