Forests play a vital role in creating oxygen and absorbing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. People, plants and animals rely on forests for food, fresh water and shelter, yet they and other high value conservation areas remain under threat.

The UN's Global Forest Goals 2021 Report, states that "Between 2015 and 2020, deforestation, which measures the conversion of forest to other land use, stood at 10.2 million hectares (ha) per year."

When we fail to protect forests, climate change effects worsen, critical biodiversity is lost and livelihoods and human rights are threatened – as are the natural ecosystems that we all rely on for the food we eat. This is why supporting deforestation-free supply chains and promoting forests as a climate solution is not just our responsibility, it is core to our business.

Our Commitment

McDonald’s is committed to eliminating deforestation from our global supply chains. 2020 saw us reach a major milestone by achieving our goal of supporting deforestation-free supply chains for several of our primary ingredients and materials – beef, chicken (soy in feed), palm oil, coffee and the fibre used in guest packaging. You can find out more about how we reached this milestone as a global business and our Commitment to Forests here.

We recognise that we have more work to do, particularly on soy. That’s why McDonald’s UK & Ireland is accelerating progress in this area and, as a signatory of the UK Soy Manifesto, is committing to sourcing soy used as an ingredient (“direct”) and in the animal feed across our supply chains (“embedded”) from deforestation-free supply chains by the end of 2025*+. This commitment extends beyond forests to other areas of high conservation value, to the people and communities around the world who depend on forests.  We acknowledge that in order to meet this ambitious commitment we will need to continue to collaborate to address underlying causes of deforestation, as shown through the Influence pillar of our strategy below.

* Scope includes soy sourced for feed of livestock (“embedded”) used in McDonald's products. It also includes soy used directly (“direct”) as an ingredient in McDonald's products. This applies to both UK and non-UK direct suppliers of products containing soy used directly as an ingredient or embedded soy.

+Cut-off date of January 2020 or earlier (upholding pre-existing or emerging sectoral or biome-wide cut-off dates already in place e.g., the Amazon Soy Moratorium).

McDonald’s Ireland & UK Strategy on Soy is based on three pillars: Innovate, Illustrate and Influence.


We recognise that soy plays an important role in providing a nutritious feed source to animals – but there is increasing innovation to deliver alternatives. We encourage and support our suppliers to consider reducing and replacing soy in animal diets, whilst being mindful of the potential impact any alternatives might also have.


We are committed to tracking progress against our goal and we map our soy footprint annually. We know that the majority of soy used in our supply chain is in animal feed. While the soy sourced to feed chickens grown for McDonald’s in the UK & Ireland currently supports deforestation-free supply chains through third party certification with cut-off dates aligned to the Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) principles, we want to go further.

Informed by data from our suppliers we assessed deforestation risks associated with embedded soy in our UK & Ireland supply chains for chicken, pork, dairy, beef, eggs, and direct soy. We are now in the process of creating action plans with our suppliers, aligned to the three pillars of our Strategy on Soy. Through these action plans, we aim to support progress on soy sustainability not only in our own supply chains but also throughout the wider sector.


We know that the underlying causes driving deforestation are complex and larger than any one company can address alone, which is why we will collaborate within and beyond our supply chain to help drive transformational change. For example, we are proud founding signatories of the UK Soy Manifesto. The UK Soy Manifesto is a collective industry commitment signaling a new approach to soy, enabling UK companies across the supply chain to step up and develop inclusive solutions. We are also members of the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soy, a collaboration between the UK government and Industry. Through the Roundtable, companies and industry associations work together to achieve a shared goal of supporting resilient supplies of soy for the UK which are legal and cultivated in a way that protects against the conversion of forests and valuable native vegetation.

You can find out more about the actions that underpin our commitments to the UK Soy Manifesto here.


Measuring and Reporting on Progress

McDonald’s Ireland & UK is committed to annually reporting our progress towards our commitment, including the actions we take to achieve the commitments of the UK Soy Manifesto. We are committed to improving traceability and supporting more transparent reporting across our supply chains.

We recognise the challenges related to how companies report progress toward their deforestation commitments and targets, and efforts are ongoing to standardise reporting practices. To ensure we are reporting clearly and consistently against our commitments, we work with expert partners and align our definitions with recognised frameworks such as the Accountability Framework initiative (AFi). McDonald’s UK & Ireland commitments and expectations are in line with McDonald’s global definitions of deforestation set out here.

Update on Progress for 2022

During 2022 we continued to work with our supply chain to build understanding around the importance of procuring certified deforestation-free soy, as well as the importance of being able to provide information on volumes of soy used and the growing origin.

In 2022, 84,026 tonnes of soy were used in McDonald’s UK & Ireland products, both as direct ingredients and embedded within the animal feed for our meat. This figure is based on data from all our suppliers who were in scope for reporting on their soy usage in 2022. We rely on our suppliers to provide us with this data annually and are working with them to improve the consistency and accuracy each year.

Cascading requirements

Raising the level of understanding among our suppliers around deforestation is a key focus for us. Ahead of our annual soy reporting process, we held a capacity building webinar for our suppliers in which we set out our business’ commitments on soy and our expectations for supplier actions and transparency.

As part of our commitment to the UK Soy Manifesto, and to help our suppliers provide deforestation-free soy in the future, we have continued to engage our suppliers on matching our commitments on soy. Being able to show action on deforestation -free soy is now a key ask for our suppliers as part of our annual supplier engagement process.

Since we have committed to the UK Soy Manifesto, suppliers representing 79% of our total soy footprint have already matched our commitment to deforestation-free soy by the end of 2025.

Our approach to supply chain transparency

McDonald’s UK & Ireland participates in an annual collective data collection process to monitor soy use in our supply chain. This process is facilitated by 3Keel, an external sustainability consultancy. Since 2018 3Keel has managed a collective reporting process on behalf of multiple European retailers, manufacturers and hospitality companies to simplify and standardise soy reporting across the sector. McDonald’s UK & Ireland’s participation in this collective process ensures that our approach to monitoring and reporting on soy is consistent and comparable across the sector and meets current industry-level standards.

The information requested as part of the reporting process is in line with the UK Soy Manifesto and enables us to meet our commitment to publicly report on our progress towards our 2025 target.


Of the soy within McDonald’s UK & Ireland products in 2022, 50.2% was claimed as certified to a recognised deforestation- and conversion-free standard. This includes 4.3% that was claimed to be certified to a mass balance or segregated standard. A further 45.5% of soy supported the sustainable production of soy through the purchase of RTRS credits or other similar certificate-based schemes (see the breakdown below).

In line with our global commitment, in 2022 100% of the soy sourced for the feed of chicken used in our products supported deforestation-free supply chains. We supported responsible soy production through the purchase of RTRS credits to cover any volumes that were not certified to a physical standard.


38.1% of all of the soy used in our products was linked to specific growing origin(s). 2.4% was claimed to come from a growing origins with a low risk of deforestation. 23.8% was linked to a specific soy trader.


2022 Soy Classification
UK & Ireland

2022 Traceability of Soy
UK & Ireland


In addition to the definitions found on our Global webpage, we are using the definitions set out below to help guide the work we are currently doing to establish actions plans.

“Deforestation cut-off dates” (aligned to AFi)

Refers to the date after which deforestation renders a given area or production unit non-compliant with no-deforestation commitments.

“Embedded (soy)”

Refers to soy sourced for feed of livestock used in McDonald’s products.

“Direct (soy)”

Refers to soy used directly as an ingredient in McDonald’s products.

* Product scope includes soy sourced for feed of livestock used in McDonald's products. It also includes soy used directly as an ingredient in McDonald's products.

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