Want green with that?

McDonald’s Canada has been recognized for serving up a side of sustainability along with the Secret Sauce.

This week, McDonald’s released its Global Best of Green environmental report, highlighting some of the measures the fast-food mega-chain has implemented across its 31,000-plus restaurants.

The report covers case studies in eight areas of concentration: Energy, Packaging, Anti-Littering, Recycling and Waste Reduction, Logistics, Communications, Greening the Restaurant, and Greening the Workplace.

From 90 case studies, the chain chose nine “Planet Champions” in each category—and that included McDonald’s Canada for its efforts to use unbleached napkins and carry-out bags.

Other environmental measures included:

  • Cardboard recycling in 100% of the US restaurants who have control over their recycling, saving 36 tonnes of cardboard from landfills.
  • Employee incentives for managers who implement energy-saving measures.
  • Wind power making up 30% electricity used at company-owned restaurants, totalling more than 300,000 MWh per year.
  • A commitment to LEED certification, with 25 LEED-certified restaurants planned to be built by 2015.
  • Training in environmental issues for all staff at McDonald’s in Spain.
Now, admittedly, McDonald’s is a global superpower when it comes to food retailing—but if you’re operating on a smaller scale, what lessons can you learn from their efforts?
  • Communicate your efforts to customers. McDonald’s is a leader in communicating its environmental efforts to its customers. You can do the same—use signs, menu inserts, or table displays to let your patrons know how you’re going green.
  • Make an effort to train your staff—and make it worth their while. Offer incentives for waste reduction, following recycling practices, or saving energy.
  • Encourage innovation. If one of your staff comes up with a good idea to save energy or improve your environmental footprint, try it out and make sure they benefit.
  • Go green one step at a time. Start using unbleached napkins. Sign up for an environmentally-friendly power supplier. Lobby your garbage collection service for better recycling services. Anything can make a difference.
What do you think? Is McDonald’s a good example to follow? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Image credit: Vacacion