McDonald's Canada announced the successful conclusion of its Verified Sustainable Beef Pilot, an industry-first.  This marks a major milestone of its collaborative partnership with the Canadian beef industry over the past 30 months to advance more sustainable beef practices and supports the global company's broader aspirational goal to source all of its food and packaging sustainably.

As one of the country's largest Canadian beef purchasers, McDonald's Canada, through the Pilot tracked the journey of nearly 9,000 head of Canadian cattle, or the equivalent of 2.4 million patties. The cattle spent their entire lives, from ‘birth to burger’, raised on or handled by verified sustainable operations.

"As a progressive burger company, we are changing the way we source and serve food in our restaurants. We have an important role in helping build a more sustainable food system globally through initiatives such as the sustainable beef pilot in Canada and we're committed to continuing this important work around the world,” said Steve Easterbrook, President and CEO, McDonald's Corp

"The Canadian beef industry is one of the best in the world and McDonald's Canada remains committed to serving our guests only 100% Canadian beef,” added John E. Betts, President and CEO, McDonald's Canada. “The Pilot has demonstrated the remarkable progress and success that can come when industry and ranchers work together towards a more sustainable future."

The Pilot has successfully demonstrated that not only can sustainable practices and outcomes be verified through the entire Canadian beef supply chain (from farm to processing), cattle from verified sustainable beef operations can also be tracked through these operations. The Verified Sustainable Beef Pilot Project in Canada is the first program to make the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) principles and criteria actionable across the entire beef value chain.

In celebration of the Pilot's wrap-up, executives from McDonald's, World Wildlife Fund U.S. and members of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) met Wednesday with Pilot participants, industry stakeholders and elected officials to share the progress that has been made towards verifying a sustainable beef supply. In addition to discussing the outcomes of the program, the Pilot's findings were officially handed over to the CRSB who has responsibility for mapping the path forward for verified sustainable beef in Canada.

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.

By the Numbers

  • 182 – Number of operations (121 ranches, 34 backgrounding operations, 24 feedlots, two beef processors and one patty plant) completed the third-party process to verify their beef operations as sustainable under the Pilot project.
  • 8,967- Total number of head of Canadian cattle that were tracked as moving through verified operations.
  • 65 million - Number of pounds of beef McDonald's sourced last year from Canadian beef farmers to produce its beef patties.

Source: McDonald’s Canada