McDonald's uses restaurants as green laboratories

Last year, the fast food chain experimented with a range of environmental improvements at stores around the world, from renewable energy in Europe to green buildings in South America.

In a post on the company's CSR blog, Bob Langert, McDonald's vice president of CSR, gave the top 10 green innovations put in place under golden arches in different countries.

The entries on the list include the use of recycled cooking oil to power its vehicle fleet in the United Kingdom; using green building features on new restaurants, including daylighting in Brazil, solar panels in France and geothermal in the U.S.; and buying programs that resulting in a moratorium on soybeans grown in the Amazon rainforest and buying Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee in Europe.

The initiatives were targeted to some extent on each country's most pressing issues.

In an interview with Reuters, Langert said, "In Japan, which is very land constrained, it's about waste. In Australia, the big issue is water. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to environmental initiatives."

The innovations are increasingly driven by franchisees, but McDonald's leadership is paying attention to the results to find out what works. Recycling cooking oil for fuel is one idea that Langert singled out as potentially scalable for wider adoption.

Langert's full list is posted on McDonald's CSR blog.

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