REBA Member Highlight: McDonald’s


We must find a way, through our collective scale to democratize clean energy for all. We all must use our scale for good to make our work meaningful and impactful for the rest of the world.

I think we can all agree, 2020 has been quite an impactful year. Our world has been through its fair share of challenges – from a devastating pandemic and health crisis, to coming to terms with and addressing the racial injustice and disparity within our society, just to name a few. However, through these turbulent times, it has remained abundantly clear that we must not waver our focus on investing in the health of our planet for future generations. Despite all of the challenges, I am grateful that our renewable energy work at McDonald’s has not only remained steadfast, but it has continued with added commitment and voracity. I feel proud to work for a company that believes in the long-term investment in sustainability and climate action—not just for the McDonald’s system, but for our customers and communities around the world.

When we initially set our science based target in 2018, it became apparent that renewable energy would have to play a large role in getting us to our goal. In 2019, McDonald’s USA signed two long-term VPPA transactions, one wind and one solar, located in Texas. On December 7th, 2020, we announced the addition of three more deals in the U.S. With the addition of these deals, To date, McDonald’s USA is #2 among US corporate buyers of renewable energy in 2020.

The three new projects (two wind farms and one portfolio of solar projects) are slated to be built in Illinois, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Ohio.

Combined, McDonald’s share of the five projects will have a total capacity of 1130 megawatts – how much energy does that actually represent? That’s enough to power about 8,000 McDonald’s restaurants. The solar panels alone would cover the surface area of New York’s Central Park seven times. McDonald’s share of the projects will help prevent about 2.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases per year once online –  equivalent taking 500,000 cars off the road for one year. 

Collectively, the impact of these deals also represents a sizable step toward our global restaurants and offices climate action target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 36% by 2030, from a 2015 base year. Once online, the emissions reductions from these five deals will take us about halfway to our target.

As you can see from the sheer volume of our renewable energy procurement over the last two years, impact is the name of the game… but are we capable of more?

While we at McDonald’s are very proud of our own progress in renewable energy procurement, the next chapter of our work is really focused on continuing that momentum, but with more collaboration. We must collaborate with:

  • Brands, both big and small,
  • Governments, to advance clean energy legislation,
  • Utilities and electricity suppliers, to improve on and expand infrastructure, and
  • Communities that need the benefits that come with having access to clean energy.

We must find a way, through our collective scale to democratize clean energy for all. We all must use our scale for good to make our work meaningful and impactful for the rest of the world.

McDonald’s is committed to collaboration for greater impact, are you?


Get Involved

Learn more about key resources available for REBA members pursuing climate and energy goals.