McDonald's Goes Fishing for Sustainability

both

An eco-label with oompf, and possibly fries

Image by Marine Stewardship Council/<a href="http://www.msc.org/">MSC</a>

McDonald’s recently got a lot of attention – mostly positive – for their decision to start labeling their new Fish McBites with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the MSC, they’re the major eco-label for certified sustainable wild fisheries.

 The news wasn’t that McDonald’s had all of a sudden started to buy sustainable seafood. In fact they’ve been sourcing from the same, well-managed Alaska pollock fishery for years. It’s that the company committed to a campaign to educate their U.S. customers about the MSC eco-label, which to date is not widely recognized or understood by American consumers.

So did McDonald’s make this move out of the goodness of its heart or because it’s good marketing? Probably both, but to be honest, I really don’t care. The potential positive impacts are enticing enough either way.

First, the company’s action almost ensures that the other big national fast food chains will follow-suit, if only not to lose market share to the Golden Arches. We saw this happen in the supermarket world when Wal-mart made a similar MSC commitment in 2006.

Even though the company couldn’t ultimately meet its five year commitment to purchase all of its wild seafood from MSC-certified fisheries, its announcement had an enormous domino effect in the grocery industry. Today, almost all major retail grocery chains have a sustainable seafood policy of one sort or another. So in the next year or two, look for Burger King, Wendy’s and others to try to out-eco McDonald’s on fish.

Second, the MSC announcement raises the question of whether McDonald’s will follow suit with sustainable purchasing and consumer education programs in their other major food categories – beef, chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. EDF, which worked with McDonalds in the early 1990s to help them phase out the Styrofoam clamshell, knows that the company is committed to making environmental improvements in a variety of areas

Can a company like McDonald’s can ever truly be “sustainable,” in the eyes of environmental purists? That’s a question for another day. But for now, just think about how many people walk through their doors every hour.

If only a tiny fraction of them ever bother to notice the MSC logo – let alone take the time to figure out what it means and why it’s important – then that will be a major move forward in the sustainable seafood movement and in the public’s awareness of the precarious state of our oceans’ health. 

You might also enjoy:
Timothy Fitzgerald

Timothy Fitzgerald

Tim, a senior policy specialist, leads EDF’s sustainable seafood program. You can follow him on Twitter @hawaiifitz

View full bio »

Get new posts by email

We'll deliver a daily digest to your inbox.


RSS RSS feed

Comments

Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any methods to prevent hackers?

If you’re a brand new owner of an apple iPhone, than you’ve gotten probably not let your new cellphone leave your arms for several days. This is to be expected, however, many individuals have iphone repair questions concerning their new iPhone and its compatibility with other digital gadgets, especially those throughout the Apple product family. Maybe probably the most mac repair broadly asked question about the new iPhone’s is whether or not or not they’re suitable with other iPod accessories? Whereas many individuals may think that they would not be suitable,ipad repair they’re significantly mistaking. [url=http://applemacrepairmanchester.co.uk]iphone repair manchester[/url]