With Planet Champions, a voluntary program, McDonald’s UK is leveraging the environmental enthusiasm of its restaurant crew.
McDonald’s UK is asking members of staff to be the environmental voice in the restaurant, to help business managers with existing environment initiatives and to generate new ideas. The volunteers receive a day of training on broad environmental issues, the company’s activities and how they can contribute. They have a yearlong calendar of activities focusing on the key issues of litter, recycling and energy. Regular emails with links to the Green Room, the Planet Champions section of ourlounge.com, keeps them up-to-date, informs them about competitions and gives them a forum to share ideas.
So far, more than 300 members of staff have volunteered to be Planet Champions. The pilot program, which ran over the summer of 2010 in 27 restaurants, yielded an increase of 20 percent of cardboard recycling and achieved incremental energy savings. The network of green enthusiasts also helped to increase awareness of environmental initiatives among nonchampion crew in pilot restaurants. Of the trial champions who were surveyed, 90 percent said they felt more motivated. Managers and franchisees noted that “it’s making us more efficient,” “it doesn’t take any more time,” and “it hasn’t had any negative impact on operations.” In 2011, the program was continued in the UK and extended to Ireland and Norway.