In my everyday life I drink my espresso in small cafés that sell espresso made from coffee beans certified as ecological and fair trade.

Exceptionally I drink espresso at McDonald's if there is no alternative, e.g. at airports or train stations.

This brought my interest to the question how sustainable McDonald's espresso is.

  • 1
    I wonder if it differs by country? Sep 20 '16 at 8:08
  • 1
    A quick search led me to this page where McDonald's claims that globally in 2015 37% of their coffee was from verified sustainable sources (UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade USA). They also say that in Europe all coffee (except decaf) is from sustainable sources, as well as all coffee in Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and all espresso in the US and Canada. You should however also consider the McDonald's plastic cup versus a ceramic mug in a bar
    – THelper
    Sep 20 '16 at 8:37
  • Depending on the country, McDonalds coffee is actually just a private label of other brands. Also McD is franchise driven, so they're not always 100% the same store to store.
    – Aravona
    Aug 16 '19 at 11:17

Here's what I found on McDonald's website:

37 % of their coffee purchases are certified from:

  • Rainforest Alliance Certified™
  • Fair Trade USA
  • UTZ Certified farms

This means 63 % is not certified, and in a company like McDonald's, this is a lot because they purchase in very high quantities.

Furthermore, they say that coffee sold in Europe is 100% certified by one of the three mentioned above. They don't give more details on this.

Like others already said, a company like McDonald's will never be sustainable in the way they work. Such a company will mostly be focused on making money, and not in being sustainable. I don't say companies can never be sustainable, but McDonald's has been the same for decades and I can't imagine they would switch their image from one day to the next.

  • 1
    You contradict yourself when you write "a company like Mc Donald can never be sustainable" and "I don't say companies can never be sustainable"
    – THelper
    Nov 28 '16 at 13:20
  • Like I explained it afterwards, it's more about Mc Donalds and not about the fact that it can never change. We could change everything if we want, I am sure! :)
    – XandruCea
    Nov 28 '16 at 13:23

I think we have to make a distinction. the product (coffee) could be quite sustainable. the problem is with mac donald! so I think whenever you can avoid it, just do and find better alternatives. Usually big brands aren't very sustainable, they just go sustainable to clean their dirty clothes!

  • 3
    Welcome to Sustainable Living! Can you explain more why you think that McDonalds as a company is not very sustainable? Do you have any references to backup your claim?
    – THelper
    Oct 16 '16 at 13:04

Since this question is quite general, I will allow me to be a little general too: McDonald's products are not sustainable - in general. Moreover it appears Fast-food cannot be sustainable, since it negates the fact that

sustainable things take time

Multinational firms are not sustainable, because only profit rules them.

Current mainstream society isn't sustainable as long as firms are allowed not to pay the real price for things they take from "us" (and our children) - this would include soil resources, water, air, work force, animals and plants life...

  • 1
    only profit rules multinational firms is not a very helpful generalization. You are also not answering the question.
    – user2451
    Sep 20 '16 at 7:29
  • @JanDoggen My edited answer says it: its not. I cannot say "how much" not it is, but theoretically speaking it can't be. What can be, is drink not coffee if you live so far away from producers, drink dried roots like e.g. the excellent dandelion's.
    – J. Chomel
    Sep 20 '16 at 8:00
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    Even if sustainable things may often take more time to create, serving up such things quickly can still be possible. Sep 20 '16 at 8:10
  • @JanDoggen, you're quite right. I agree I'm a little sketching the things. But think about it: if we need 4-5 earth at the current rate we live, then we should decrease our rate, and fast-foods have no reason to be (sorry I can't go to chat room behind current proxy I use;))
    – J. Chomel
    Sep 20 '16 at 8:44

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