McDonald's Corp. and all five members of the restaurant chain's North American Logistics Council (NALC) – Armada, Earp Distribution, Martin Brower, Mile Hi Foods and The Anderson-DuBose Company – have signed agreements with Enel North America1 to purchase renewable energy and the associated renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Enel Green Power's Blue Jay solar project in Grimes County, Texas. This innovative aggregation of a major company purchasing power jointly with its logistics partners means the electricity load of McDonald's USA's entire logistics supply chain for all its U.S. restaurants is expected to be 100% supported by renewable energy.
McDonald's net zero aspirations comes as sustainability is front of mind today's consumers. Two out of three (66%) consumers surveyed feel it’s important that restaurants are open about their practices to limit food waste. According to the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot Culinary Forecast, sustainability will continue to influence menus and how restaurants make decisions.
The Blue Jay solar project is expected to be fully operational in 2023. Once complete, McDonald's and its suppliers' combined electricity purchase is expected to amount to an estimated average of over 470,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually. This is equivalent to avoiding over 170,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually or the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from over 80 million trucking miles driven each year2.
"Adding Blue Jay solar to our U.S. renewable energy portfolio is one of the many important steps in our journey to achieving our net zero aspirations," said Bob Stewart, SVP and Chief Supply Chain Officer, North America, at McDonald's. "This deal is a unique example of how McDonald's and its logistics partners are combining efforts to leverage their reach and scale to tackle supply chain emissions together. We are excited about our collective potential to help address climate change and drive continuous improvement."
Supply chain emissions, which are categorized as Scope 3 emissions by GHG Protocol, are challenging to address and measure because they're driven by activities that are beyond the direct control of the organization, such as the transportation and distribution of products. Scope 3 emissions account for 75% of companies' GHG emissions on average, according to 2022 report released by CDP.
"While major corporations are increasingly encouraging and advising their partners on how to reduce their carbon emissions, McDonald's took it one step further by becoming the anchor buyer alongside its suppliers. McDonald's and the NALC recognized early on that collaboration across the supply chain is the only way to effectively address electricity emissions for all logistics suppliers," said Danny Fahey, NALC Sustainability Lead and Vice President of U.S. Strategy at Martin Brower. "This aggregation represents how a joint effort will be essential to making continued progress towards climate goals."
The combined purchase of 189 megawatts (MW) of renewable power, equivalent to more than 900 U.S. McDonald's restaurants-worth of renewable energy annually, is intended to help McDonald's and the NALC members meet their ambitious climate commitments.
1The VPPA agreements are signed through Enel North America’s renewables business, Enel Green Power.
2 Equivalency calculations based on current U.S. EPA and EU Commission data.