Definitions of other terms used in our Planet Positive and Great Restaurant pillars are on Our Plan for Change definitions page. 

Net zero emissions goals and definitions

Globally, McDonald’s Corporation is committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 by joining the Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi) Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the UN Race to Net Zero. McDonald’s UK & Ireland plans to align its market strategy with this approach, moving faster where we can.

McDonald’s UK & Ireland becoming net zero emissions by 2040 will involve significantly reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in alignment with a 1.5°C climate scenario pathway and neutralising all residual emissions with high quality carbon removal projects.

We also recognise that the Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi) net zero criteria will only apply for "full companies" and not for “part-of companies e.g. restaurants and operations”, and we will aim to adhere to the spirit of SBTi net zero criteria when applying these to McDonald’s UK & Ireland activities.

All details will be further defined and reported on once the final SBTi net zero criteria become available at the end of 2021.

Our UK and Ireland net zero emissions goals and definitions:

• Our goal: By 2030, we will achieve net zero emissions for all of our restaurants and offices.

Our definition: This significant decarbonisation of the emissions from all of our restaurants and offices (both franchised and company-owned) will be in line with the SBTi net zero criteria and a 1.5°C climate scenario pathway. This is an interim target towards becoming net zero across our entire business by 2040.

• Our goal: By 2040, we will achieve net zero emissions for our entire business and value chain and work with our suppliers and franchisees to have a positive impact on climate.

Our definition: This includes our restaurants, operations and value chain (GHG Protocol Scopes 1,2,3) in alignment with the SBTi net zero criteria and a 1.5°C climate scenario pathway.

Our restaurants and offices net zero emissions goals and definitions:

Until the SBTi has developed criteria that can be used as guidance for our business incorporating our restaurants and offices, we will continue to use the UKGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework.

The UKGBC framework sets out definitions and principles around two approaches to net zero carbon, which are of equal importance:

1.1 Net zero carbon – construction is defined as: “When the amount of carbon emissions associated with a building’s product and construction stages up to practical completion is zero or negative, through the use of offsets or the net export of on-site renewable energy.”

1.2 Net zero carbon – operational energy is defined as: “When the amount of carbon emissions associated with the building’s operational energy on an annual basis is zero or negative. A net zero carbon building is highly energy efficient and powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources, with any remaining carbon balance offset.''

• Our goal: From 2022 we will launch our first UK industry net zero emissions standard restaurant and create a blueprint for freehold new builds.

Our definition: We will aim to use the UKGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework definition of ‘net zero carbon – construction (modules A1 – A5)’ for all freehold new build restaurants and ‘net zero carbon – operational energy (module B6)’ for all restaurants.

• Our goal: From 2023​ furniture in new and refurbished restaurants will be made with recycled or certified materials and designed to be recycled or reused at end of life.

Our definition: Furniture can include, but is not limited to, tables, chairs, wall panels, recycling units, patio seating and signage. Ensuring our restaurant refurbishment programmes are designed with circularity in mind is part of our journey to net zero emissions.

• Our goal: By 2030, we will achieve net zero emissions for all our restaurants and offices.

Our definition: Achieving net zero emissions in line with the SBTi net zero criteria means significantly reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in alignment with a 1.5°C climate scenario pathway and neutralising residual emissions with high quality carbon removal projects.

Definitions of related terms

Neutralise emissions
Neutralising emissions refers to the removal and storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We are committed to aligning with emerging guidance on this terminology from SBTi.

1.5C climate scenario pathway
1.5°C emission pathways are defined as those that, given current knowledge of the climate response, provide a one-in-two to two-in-three chance of warming either remaining below 1.5°C or returning to 1.5°C.

Decarbonisation
Decarbonisation refers to the measures taken that prevent the release of carbon dioxide emissions. In McDonald's, these measures will be associated with, but not exclusive to, energy in restaurants, transport of products and farming practices.

GHG Protocols Scopes 1, 2 and 3
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol standard is commonly used to categorize an organization’s GHG emissions into 3 groups or “scopes”: Scope 1 - Direct Emissions; Scope 2 - Indirect Emissions (electricity, heating/cooling and steam); Scope 3 - indirect emissions (all other).