The Huge Step McDonald's Is Taking To Lessen Its Environmental Impact

Many companies and restaurants around the world are looking for ways to become more environmentally friendly; some have taken steps to make their packaging more sustainable by moving away from styrofoam and plastic to materials that can be recycled or composted, while others have tried to eliminate single-use products like plastic straws in favor of options that can be washed and reused. Recently, McDonald's announced another big step it's taking to help reduce its environmental impact and become more sustainable.

On December 7, the company announced that it would be increasing its investments in renewable energy sources. According to a press release, McDonald's signed two virtual power purchase agreements in 2019, which are investments that help increase renewable energy sources like wind farms and solar panels. The two VPPAs in 2019 were both located in Texas, and this month, the company announced three more deals to invest in renewable energy. According to Eat This, Not That, the new investments in renewable energy are part of a campaign to reduce greenhouse gases created by offices and restaurants by 36 percent by 2030.

How McDonald's new renewable energy investments will impact the environment

According to the company's press release, the new agreements are for three new projects: two wind farms plus additional solar farm projects. "These projects will not only provide more U.S. communities greater access to clean energy, but they will also stimulate local economies through job creation," Miranda Ballentine, the CEO of Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, said in the press release. The projects will be located in Illinois, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Ohio, and will create an estimated 3,400 short-term jobs and 135 long-term positions in the local communities.

Once these three new projects are complete, in combination with the two McDonald's has already invested, the company's share of all five projects will generate enough energy to power the equivalent of 8,000 McDonald's restaurants. And once all five are up and running, they'll also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company estimates the projects will prevent about 2.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year, which is equal to planting about 40 million trees. Though the company didn't include details on when they estimate the projects will be completed, the new wind and solar farms will go a long way towards reducing the company's environmental impact and creating more sustainable energy resources.