McDonald’s celebrated 30 years of business in Northern Ireland this week and commended its suppliers in Northern Ireland for "punching above their weight".

The company has also committed to being carbon 'net zero' in the UK by 2040. This is 10 years ahead of a climate change pledge given by the McDonald’s Corporation at a global level.

Speaking at a dinner, held specifically to mark McDonald’s three decades of commitment to Northern Ireland, the company’s supply chain and brand trust vice president for the UK and Ireland, Beth Hart, said:

“Farmers and growers in Northern Ireland really punch above their weight when it comes to supplying McDonald’s.

“Our business in Northern Ireland is thriving. Our franchisees manage 33 restaurants, employing 3,200 people.

McDonald’s currently contributes £100 million to Northern Ireland’s economy, £26 million of which is invested in our local suppliers. And this level of commitment will continue to grow.

“Our customers tell us that the most important thing for them is to know where the food they are eating, comes from," she added.

“Having strong supply relationships with local farmers makes total business sense."

McDonald’s carbon commitments

McDonald’s carbon 'net zero' commitments are contained within the company’s recently launched 'Plan for Change' strategy.

The plan sets out ambitious goals and actions across its four key areas - planet, people, restaurants and food.

Where the environment is concerned, the plan is to aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, across McDonald's UK and Ireland entire business and value chain.

This includes using soy ingredients and the animal feed in its supply chain, that is deforestation-free by 2026.

In addition, McDonald’s plans to go even further in sourcing quality, sustainable ingredients. It will invest in sector-leading research through a new sustainable beef network.

Sustainability in McDonald's

By 2023, McDonald's UK and Ireland will develop a new scorecard, in collaboration with independent experts, to expand and embed ethical and sustainability criteria in its sourcing decisions.

Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald's UK and Ireland said:

"McDonald's has a long history of taking action where it really matters to the communities we serve.

But we are at a moment now, where we need to accelerate our ambition and work even harder to look after each other and the planet.

“This new Plan for Change is not just our sustainability strategy, it's our business priority.

"That means it isn't a plan for one change, but for many – changes that together with 1,400 restaurants, over 130,000 people, 23,000 British and Irish farmers and four million customers visiting every day, really will add up," he concluded.