McDonald's Just Committed To Increasing Its Diversity. Here's How

McDonald's has just announced two additional steps to increasing its diversity efforts, and this time, it starts with its suppliers. As QSR Web explains, McDonald's and more than 20 of its largest suppliers in the U.S. will make a Mutual Commitment to Diversity Equity and Inclusion (MCDEI), and become accountable to making progress in increasing a culture of inclusion and dismantling barriers to economic opportunities. McDonald's also pledged to make a 10% increase in purchases from diverse-owned suppliers. In 2020, the fast food chain purchased around 23% out of $14 billion of its U.S. supplies from diverse-owned suppliers, and plans to increase that to 25% (or $3.5 billion) by 2025 (via Nation's Restaurant News).

These two diversity initiatives are the latest in a series of changes that McDonald's has implemented since 2020, when the chain was served with several lawsuits alleging racial discrimination, including a $1 billion lawsuit from a group of 52 Black, former McDonald's franchisees. By 2021, there were a total of three lawsuits by former and current franchisees alleging racial discrimination (via CNBC).

McDonald's has made some commitments to increase diversity

Whether the multiple lawsuits were a wake-up call that some changes needed to be made, McDonald's started announcing commitments to increase diversity. In November 2020, McDonald's named a new global chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer who had developed an award-winning diversity and inclusion strategy at a former company, according to Business Chief

In February 2021, the chain announced that it was tying 15% of top executive bonus pay to meeting diversity goals, which includes increasing the number of women and underrepresented groups in leadership positions to 45% (up from 37%) and 35% (up from 29%) by 2025, respectively (via Bloomberg). McDonald's also committed to more than doubling the amount of advertising dollars that it spent with diverse firms, from 2% to 5% by 2024, just as a $10 billion lawsuit was announced in May, alleging bias against Black-owned media companies (via Reuters).

Time will tell whether these initiatives will make a real difference in actually increasing diversity at the chain. They are a welcomed first step towards what McDonald's has listed as a goal on its website, that in every interaction with McDonald's, "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEO) are as evident and familiar as the Arches themselves."