McDonald’s Adopts Industry Leading Forest Standards for Its Packaging

New Standards Set Greater Protection for Southern Forests; Yum and KFC Continue to Lag Behind

Asheville, NC – Fast food giant McDonald’s announced a new Sustainable Land Management Commitment in support of their efforts to improve how they source everything from beef and chicken to paper packaging. While McDonald’s sustainable packaging policies have incorporated the familiar and important tenets of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, it’s the adoption of new forest standards discouraging the conversion of natural forests to industrial tree plantations and giving buying preference for paper products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) that propels McDonald’s ahead of its competitors and sets a higher environmental bar for the fast food industry.

“We applaud McDonald’s as the first of the big fast food companies to take a clear stand against the continued conversion of natural forests to plantations and to embrace FSC certification over the widely criticized and misleading industry driven Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) that certifies the conversion of natural forests to plantations as sustainable” said Andrew Goldberg of Dogwood Alliance. “Unfortunately, KFC, whose paper packaging is also sourced from mills connected to the destruction of important wetland forests along the Mid-Atlantic Coast, continues to resist change.”

Specifically, McDonald’s will work to eliminate paper originating from tree plantations established after 1994 that were previously natural forests. The replacement of natural forests by industrial tree plantations for paper production has destroyed millions of acres of unique forests and forested wetlands in the Southern US, the world’s largest paper producing region where much of the paper packaging for companies like McDonald’s and KFC originates.

In giving preference to FSC, McDonald’s recognizes FSC as providing the best assurance of meeting its new forestry standards. FSC is the only forest certification system in the world supported broadly by conservation groups because it prohibits bad forestry practices such as large-scale clearcutting, conversion of natural forests to plantations, logging of endangered forests, and widespread use of toxic chemicals in forest management practices..

Last year, a public campaign was launched against Yum! Brands and its biggest fast food chain KFC whose paper packaging comes from mills that are destroying wetland forests along the Mid Atlantic Coast. KFC announced a new environmental packaging policy last September which was criticized as failing to protect these forests.
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Dogwood Alliance is protecting millions of acres of Southern forests by changing the way communities, landowners and corporations value them for their benefits to climate, wildlife and water. . For more information on the KFC fast food packaging campaign, visit For more info on the organization, visit

For more information on McDonald’s new policy, visit:

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