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McDonald’s Korea takes actions for sustainable growth

McDonald's Korea

McDonald’s Korea has announced a new campaign aimed at contributing to the environment and community under the slogan “small but great changes for a better community”.

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In light of the current COVID-19 situation, the American fast food restaurant chain presented four actions ― Our Planet, Food Quality & Sourcing, Community Connection and Jobs, Inclusion & Empowerment ― to aid local communities and protect the environment.

McDonald’s Korea said it will implement concrete plans for each to achieve sustainable growth.

The company plans to expand the operations of eco-friendly restaurants through reducing its use of plastics, using environmentally friendly packaging materials and replacing all of its delivery scooters with green electric vehicles.

By 2025, McDonald’s plans to transition 100 percent to recyclable, recycled, or certified packaging materials by to end plastic use, and to replace the inks used on such materials with natural ones. To this end, the company will also introduce cup lids that allow customers to enjoy their drinks without using a plastic straw.

Over the years, McDonald’s has demonstrated its commitment to climate action and recycling. It has replaced 50 paper-based packaging materials with those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and turns 3,500 tons of waste cooking oil into eco-friendly biodiesel fuel annually.

The company will also replace all of its McDelivery bikes with zero-emission electric bikes by 2021. The replacement rate currently stands at 77 percent, which translated into a 937-ton reduction in carbon dioxide emissions a year. In addition, the installation of solar panels and eco-friendly LED lights at McDonald’s restaurants has had the same effect as planting 220,000 trees.

On 18th August, McDonald’s opened the Goyang Samsong drive-thru restaurant, a flagship restaurant that features a range of eco-friendly measures that have been carried out so far. The restaurant boasts solar panels and LED lights, 100% electric bikes, digital menu boards that eliminate the need for paper menus, eco-friendly ceiling material that enables better humidity control and electric plugs that reduce standby power, while an electric car charging station is scheduled to be installed in 2021.

McDonald’s will use fresh and sustainable ingredients and expand its supply of local ingredients to present tastier and higher-quality menu items. By the end of the year, all its restaurants will be using 100 percent sunflower oil that contains less saturated fatty acids and trans-fats than other plant-based oils, a first in the fast-food restaurant industry, to help protect the environment and provide customers with healthy and balanced food choices.

The company has been using fresh, high-quality local ingredients including eggs, tomatoes and lettuce, leading to mutual growth with suppliers and contributing to the local economy.

As a result of continuously offering menu items containing local ingredients, the amount of locally-sourced eggs and tomatoes stood at 1,552 tons (more than 25 million eggs) and 1,700 tons, respectively, as of 2019.

The McDonald’s beverage menu items also include those with locally-grown ingredients such as drinks made from hallabong, a tangerine variety produced on Jeju and pears from Naju which has also helped increase the quantity of local sourcing.

Starting last year, McDonald’s began using chicken that conforms to the WHO’s statement on classification of “Highest Priority Critically Important Antimicrobials.” In addition, since 2018 it has only used 100% eco-friendly coffee beans which have been certified by the Rainforest Alliance.

McDonald’s will further strengthen its activities to protect families and their communities. In September last year, the company opened the first Ronald McDonald’s House in Korea within the Busan National University Hospital complex in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province, so that children with severe medical conditions and their families can stay close to their hospital for more convenient access to medical support.

The company is the largest sponsor of Ronald McDonald’s House Charities (RMHC), a non-profit organization that is responsible for the construction and operation of such premises and donates a portion of the profits from the sales of its Happy Meal.

Since 2006, McDonald’s has run the Ronald McDonald’s Soccer Club, a free soccer program for children and their families in collaboration with FC Seoul and the Busan I-Park Football Club. A total of 350,000 children are participating as of 2019.

The Happy Burger campaign began in 2013 to offer warm hearty meals to the people that need support from the community and to those who have lent a helping hand to the community. Now in its eighth year, the campaign has provided more than 250,000 burgers to date.

Under the belief that people are the greatest asset, McDonald’s will continue investing in people by running an open hiring policy that does not discriminate on the basis of sex, age and educational background and by creating a work environment that allows for continued career development.

The company has over 15,000 employees in the head office and more than 400 restaurants across the country, which is one of the largest workforces in the global restaurant sector.

Since the announcement early this year of its plan to hire more than 600 full-time employees, it has followed through by recruiting 400, contributing to stable job creation amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of its open hiring policy, McDonald’s has created the shift manager position to facilitate the transition of non-regular workers into regular employees while 90.2 percent of the managers at restaurants directly managed by McDonald’s are internally-trained as of September 2020.

It has also hired 1,169 married women over the last two years.

McDonald’s has also expanded the employment of young adults through its open hiring system and creating new positions and plans to increase part-time staff and McDelivery riders.

The number of employees with disabilities stands at 178, while a total of 39 employees with severe disabilities have worked for the company for more than ten years.

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“McDonald’s is not just a company serving burgers. As a good neighbor, we endeavor to help the community solve issues and difficulties it faces, and help improve people’s lives,” said Antoni Martinez, managing director of McDonald’s Korea.

“We will keep contributing to creating a better community through small but great changes that we have pursued in a variety of areas,” added Antoni.

(Source: Korea Times)