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McDonald’s USA in energy first

A fast-food giant is adding renewable energy to the grid.

McDonald’s USA has signed the first-ever large-scale virtual power purchase agreements, whereby it will buy renewable energy generated by Aviator Wind West, a wind power project located in Coke County, Texas and a solar project located in Texas. The combined 380MW in renewable energy expected  to be generated from McDonald's contribution to these projects will be equivalent to over 2,500 restaurants-worth of electricity and help to prevent over 700,000 metric tons of carbon emissions each year, which is equivalent to planting more than 11 million trees or taking more than 140,000 cars off the road for one year. 

"McDonald's significant investment in 380 MWs of renewable energy to cover a large chunk of the GHG emissions from the electricity purchased by their franchisees is groundbreaking," said Marty Spitzer, senior director, climate and renewable energy, World Wildlife Fund. "Knowing their franchisees are typically small businesses that don't have the capacity or resources to buy renewable energy at the scale needed to tackle the climate challenge, McDonald's has taken a road untraveled. Other companies with thousands of franchisees need to take notice."

In March 2018, McDonald's became the first restaurant company in the world to set a greenhouse gas emissions target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. These two U.S. renewable energy projects will represent significant progress toward McDonald's target to reduce GHG emissions related to McDonald's restaurants and offices by 36% by 2030.

"As we look at the most pressing social and environmental challenges facing the world today, McDonald's has a responsibility to take action, and our customers expect us to do what is right for the planet," said Francesca DeBiase, chief supply chain and sustainability officer, McDonald's. "These U.S. wind and solar projects represent a significant step in our work to address climate change, building on years of renewable energy sourcing in many of our European markets.”

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