By Paul Hodgson – CCO and Senior Research Associate
For the truly tactile defensive this is great news. In a report in the Chicago Tribune yesterday, it was revealed that McDonald’s is testing paper cups for its hot drinks. "(Consumers) care about where their food comes from, how people are treated, impacts on the earth," said Bob Langert, vice president of sustainability at McDonald's USA, according to the article. "And they want to do business with people who care about the same things they care about. Finding an alternative to polystyrene,” he said, "is all upside." Even better, a big thank you to the Chicago Tribune for using the sensible word “drinks” instead of the very silly one “beverages”.
While this will be an improvement, like Starbucks, McDonald’s is still rated a D in the environmental section of GMI Ratings’ ESG analysis because of continuing problems with waste, failure to disclose CO2 emissions or targets for reducing them, lack of board oversight of the issue, and general lack of disclosure.
More importantly, while the decision to move away from styrofoam cups is the company's, the driving force behind it – as it was with past decisions to stop wrapping burgers in stryofoam – was the SRI community which has been working steadfastly to press the company to make this move.