McDonald's Reaches Major Milestone in Canadian Pilot for Sustainable Beef

McDonald's Restaurant


Toronto, Ontario – September 25, 2015 – After more than a year of collaborative work between industry, non-governmental organizations, subject matter experts and producer groups, the final indicators that will be used to assess sustainable beef production on beef cattle operations participating in the McDonald’s Canadian pilot have been confirmed. McDonald’s has committed to fund the verification process for up to 300 participants from the Canadian beef industry.
There are five indicator categories, called principles, which encompass:

  1. Natural resources, such as ensuring soil health, water quality, and wildlife and plant biodiversity.
  2. Community and people, include ensuring a safe and healthy work environment and commitment to supporting the local community.
  3. Animal health and welfare, such as access to clean drinking water and mitigating/ minimizing animal stress and pain.
  4. Food, such as ensuring food safety and beef quality, including training and registration in the Verified Beef Production (VBP) program.
  5. Efficiency and innovation, such as recycling and energy efficiency programs.

Indicators are differentiated for three separate producer groups: calf/cow operators, fed cattle and processors. For the Canadian pilot, there are more than 30 indicators for each group which allow the producer to demonstrate how they achieve positive outcomes relative to the five principles.
Producers work with Where Food Comes From, an independent third party verification firm, who leads the verification process to evaluate sustainable practices on participating beef cattle operations.  Indicators are scored by professionally trained verifiers on a five-point scale, with a score of three or higher needed on all critical indicators and an average of three or higher for each of the five principles. Within the principles are some critical indicators that are must-haves for a sustainable operation, such as water quality, workplace safety, and measuring and monitoring animal health.
Interested producers are encouraged to contact for more information on enrollment in the Canadian beef pilot. To date, more than 147 ranchers and processors have expressed interest in the pilot with 34 having gone through the verification process.  Phase Two which is now underway is generating further verifications.
When complete, the McDonald’s Canadian pilot will transition to the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), where the lessons learned will inform the organization’s work as it moves towards implementing a program for sustainable beef verification across Canada.
McDonald’s globally 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 the Canadian pilot project, which uses the global principles and criteria ratified by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.  
More Information
Verified Sustainable Beef Pilot Project Indicators
Where Food Comes From
McDonald’s Corporation: Journey to Verified Sustainable Beef
VIDEO: 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
“Everyone—from people who make burgers to organizations aspiring to do more to conserve the environment—wants a sustainable beef supply. Finalizing the indicators in just over a year is a testament to the power of what can be achieved when you collaborate with multiple stakeholders who share a similar vision.  These indicators mean that we’re able to understand, validate and make progress against the work that Canadian beef producers are already doing to make their operations sustainable.”
Jeffrey Fitzpatrick-Stilwell, Senior Manager of Sustainability, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited
“The final indicators are an incredible tool for producers to understand what parts of their operation are already sustainable and where work needs to be done. As the organization with responsibility for verifying industry, we’re meeting with producers every day and it’s incredible to see the desire for and progress towards beef sustainability among the people who care for Canada’s beef cattle herd and, ultimately, Canada’s beef supply.”
 - Leann Saunders, Co-founder and President Where Food Comes From Inc.

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