Canada one step closer to sourcing verified sustainable beef


TORONTO, ON (June 10, 2015) – As one of the world’s largest purchasers of beef, McDonald’s has identified beef sustainability as a key business priority and is committed to being more progressive in partnering with industry to advance sustainable practices to better the lives of cattle, ranchers and consumers.  The Company has committed to begin purchasing a portion of its beef from verified sustainable sources in 2016 as part of its broader aspirational goal to source all of its food and packaging sustainably. 

Progress towards this commitment is being realized through a pilot project in Canada aimed at establishing an independent verification process in partnership with multiple stakeholders, using the global principles and criteria ratified by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB).   
On Tuesday, executives from McDonald’s and Cargill, along with members from the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) toured two Alberta ranches that have completed the third-party process to verify sustainable beef production under the pilot project.
To date, nearly 100 Alberta ranchers have expressed interest in participating in the pilot with 19 having completed verification and an additional seven scheduling their verification. Phase two will begin in the Fall and will generate more verifications.  The McDonald’s-sponsored pilot will then transition to the CRSB, where the lessons learned will inform its work as it moves towards implementing a program for sustainable beef verification across Canada.
Quick Facts

  • McDonald’s Corporate, World Wildlife Fund in the United States (WWF-US) and Cargill are founding members of the GRSB established in 2012.
  • In 2014, the CRSB was formed creating a truly multi-stakeholder organization of experts representing every aspect of beef production, including McDonald’s Canada, Cargill, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canada Beef, Loblaw Inc., government and producer groups.
  • McDonald’s Canada sources 100% Canadian beef for its hamburger patties from ranches, primarily from Alberta and Saskatchewan, making Canada a natural fit for the globally-supported pilot. In phase one of the Canadian pilot, regionally specific indicators were developed in line with the GRSB’s principles and criteria in consultation with a cross-industry advisory board and a mechanism for third-party verification was agreed.
    • For example, Natural Resources: the various ways ranchers manage and maintain the iconic prairie grasslands that are an integral ecosystem for biodiversity in Canada is an indicator of sustainable beef production.  
    • Other indicators span the areas of animal health and welfare, food, community and people, and efficiency and innovation.
  • The number of ranchers who completed the verification process in phase one exceeded expectations and more ranchers will participate in phase two.

More Information
McDonald’s Corporation: Journey to Verified Sustainable Beef
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
World Wildlife Fund
“We’re committed to being more progressive around our social purpose and what matters most to consumers.  We’ve made great strides, charting a new course for the entire global beef industry and with the help of our partners, we’re changing the way we source and serve food in our restaurants around the world.”
-          Steve Easterbrook, President and CEO, McDonald’s Corporation
“There are certification and measurement programs for commodities like coffee, fish and palm oil, but until now, there has been no global standard for beef. There’s no better place in the world than Canada to embark on the next phase in setting that standard.  We are huge supporters of the industry.  We know, because we use 100% Canadian beef in our hamburger patties. As such, we are very proud to be championing this initiative in partnership with the Canadian beef industry.”
-          John E. Betts, President and CEO, McDonald’s Canada
“Sustainability means different things to different people but at its core it’s about being great stewards of the land and animals for future generations. Our ability to define it through the work of the CRSB means defining the future of the Canadian beef industry.”
-          Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, Rancher and Chair of the CRSB
About McDonald’s Canada
McDonald’s is the leading foodservice company in the world. McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited and its Canadian franchisees own and operate more than 1,400 restaurants with more than 85,000 employees from coast-to-coast. Approximately 80 per cent of McDonald’s Canadian restaurants are locally owned and operated by independent entrepreneurs. For more information about McDonald’s Canada, visit or follow us on Twitter (@McD_Canada), Facebook ( and Instagram ( for updates on our business, promotions and menu items.
About McDonald’s Corporation
McDonald's is the world's leading global foodservice retailer with over 36,000 locations serving approximately 69 million customers in over 100 countries each day. More than 80% of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business men and women.
About the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Established in 2014, the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) is a multi-stakeholder initiative which includes three technical working groups: the CRSB Development Taskforce, the Sustainability Assessment Working Group and the Communication Working Group.


For more information, please contact:
McDonald’s Media Relations Line
Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Staff Contact: Fawn Jackson

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