Macca’s® & the Environment

Being environmentally responsible is a key part of our business.

  • Our approach

    For many years we have been on a path of continuous environmental improvement. We have made significant changes throughout the history of our operations as our understanding of environmental impacts has improved.

    We have an environmental sustainability framework in place to assist the business to define and deliver appropriate initiatives against these five major environmental themes:

    • Restaurant operations
    • Corporate operations
    • Sustainable supply
    • Advocacy and partnerships
    • Culture and communication

    To learn more about McDonald’s worldwide commitment to sustainability please visit our global social responsibility website

    Restaurant operations

    Our impact on the environment in our restaurant operations is most significant in the areas of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and waste generation. We continue to concentrate on these key areas in performance management and improvement targets, and we have a number of new initiatives and trials underway to help us meet our environmental goals.


    Energy use and greenhouse emissions

    In our operations, our focus is primarily on reducing electricity consumption by introducing solar and LED lights in some of our restaurants.

    We also report our greenhouse gas emissions under the federal government’s National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme. Our reports are published online by Clean Energy Regulator. 

    2013 EEO Annual Public Report
    PDF - 0.5 Mb


    Water usage

    Water is essential to the operation of our restaurants and we place considerable focus on water quantity and quality for both supply and waste water. You can see more about our water conservation efforts on the initiatives and trials  page. 

    Keeping the streets clean

    Our Clean Streets program includes initiatives designed to keep the area around our restaurants tidy and clean. The key to this is the Litter Patrol program, which is a structured and regular task for crew members who pick up litter from within the restaurant grounds and in neighbouring streets.

    Within the Clean Streets program we also use packaging, restaurant tray mats and car park signage to remind our customers to not litter.

    Corporate operations

    Our corporate operations set the example for our restaurants. Similar energy and water saving products are installed in the offices as those in place in the restaurants. These include rain water tanks, dual flush toilets, water restrictors on taps and sensor lighting in the car parks.

    Sustainable supply

    For many years, McDonald’s has partnered with suppliers who share our commitment to sourcing food ingredients, and materials for packaging, in an ethical and responsible manner. Sustainability is an integral part of how we measure our performance.

    Our journey towards sustainable sourcing begins with our direct suppliers and extends to thousands of indirect suppliers who source ingredients for our menu items. We recognise the fact that the impacts of such an extensive supply chain are significant. The majority of our environmental impacts occur beyond our own operations.

    Our sustainable supply chain vision is based on:

    Economic Viability – Delivering affordable food, engaging in equitable trade practices, limiting the spread of agricultural diseases and positively impacting the communities in which our suppliers operate.

    Ethical Behaviour – Purchasing from suppliers who follow practices that ensure the health and safety of their employees and the welfare and humane treatment of animals.

    Environmental Responsibility – Influencing the sourcing of our materials and ensuring the design of our products, their manufacture, distribution and use minimises lifecycle impacts on the environment.

    For more information about our global supply chain policies and programs please go to

    Advocacy and partnerships

    More and more we are working with experts, environmental organisations and government agencies to learn from them, offer our support and build cooperative relationships. 

    In 2010 we signed up to the Sustainability Advantage program run by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water to assist us in improving our sustainability initiatives.

    Other relationships include those in place with the National Packaging Covenant, and the Australian Government through the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism’s Energy Efficiency Opportunities Program and the Department of Climate Change’s National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act.

    In addition we have offered our support to the following organisations and initiatives over several years:

    Culture and communication

    A focus on the environment is part of our culture and affects the decisions we make every day. Continuous improvement is also an important part of Macca’s overall business culture and this attitude also directs our journey towards environmental sustainability.

    We have numerous communication channels in place to inform our people of environmental initiatives and encourage participation in events such as Clean Up Australia Day and Earth Hour.

  • We are always looking for opportunities to improve the sustainability of our business.

    New products and practices are being trialled and launched all the time to help minimise the impact of our operations on the environment. In our restaurants, small changes can make a big difference.

    Reducing energy use

    • In 2012 McDonald’s proudly opened Australia’s first Green Star accredited restaurant at Kilsyth in Victoria. The Kilsyth restaurant features many sustainable initiatives including energy efficient lighting and air conditioning, solar panels, rainwater harvesting and the use of recycled concrete and steel. Several of these initiatives are now a part of our standard building design.
    • A range of external restaurant signage now utilises energy efficient LED technology rather than the standard 240V fluorescent lamps resulting in energy savings of between 50 and 70 per cent per sign.
    • Where restaurant design and existing lighting systems allow we are installing lux level sensors attached to the dimmer system to control the dining room lighting. The sensors determine the levels of natural light available and adjust the internal lighting accordingly.
    • Many restaurants are now using the waste heat from the kitchen air conditioning system or absorbing heat from the ambient air to heat their hot water – reducing overall energy consumption by up to 7%.

    Recycling and reducing waste

    Some of the ways in which we are reducing waste and improving recycling include:

    • Most restaurants currently recycle cardboard packaging and used cooking oil.
    • A new solid waste management strategy is currently being developed. The strategy will be designed to divert waste from landfill, reduce materials used, increase recycling and create cost savings.
    • We have implemented recycling trials at our Sydney Olympic Park and Parramatta North restaurants. Organic waste is separated in the kitchen and sent to Earth Power. All remaining waste including general waste from the dining room is collected as co-mingled waste. The recyclable components are separated at our waste service provider’s alternative waste treatment facility (AWT).
    • Compactor trials are currently underway at our Thornleigh and Parramatta North restaurants to reduce waste volumes and collections.
    • Due to our improved recycling efforts, we now divert an average of 36 tonnes of waste per restaurant from landfill

    Reducing water use

    Some of the ways in which we have been able to reduce our water usage include:

    • Rainwater tanks are standard for all new freestanding restaurants. Rainwater is collected for use in irrigation and toilet flushing. 
    • Time flow taps are used in all new and re-modelled restaurants. These feature a reduced flow rate and auto flow shut off after seven seconds which saves approximately 100 to 200 litres of water per day.
    • All new and remodelled restaurants use water efficient tapware and sanitaryware including time flow taps and dual flush toilets;
    • Water efficient spray guns used for washing up in the kitchen reduce water usage by approximately 60 per cent compared to previous spray guns;
    • New landscape design guidelines encourage the planting of native and drought resistant plants and utilise advanced stormwater retention methods.


  • Our freshly ground coffee doesn't just taste great, it's making a difference as well. Our signature blend in McCafé® is made using 100% Arabica coffee beans sourced only from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms in Brazil, Costa Rica and Columbia that meet the strict environmental and social standards set by the Rainforest Alliance.

    The Rainforest Alliance seal guarantees that your coffee was grown on a farm where the environment is protected and workers are given access to better pay, education and medical care. It also means your McCafé® coffee is delivered with the same quality and flavour that you love.

    Helping farmers and the environment

    McCafé is proud to be in partnership with the Rainforest Alliance as only farms that meet specific and holistic standards balancing all aspects of production – including protecting the environment, the rights and welfare of workers and the interests of coffee growing communities – are awarded the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal.

    The decision taken by McDonald's Australia to source 100% of coffee beans for McCafé® from Rainforest Alliance will ensure thousands of farmers, farm workers and their families in Brazil, Costa Rica and Colombia benefit. On Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, farm workers are treated with respect and have access to clean water, medical care and education for themselves and their families.