McDonald’s Switzerland discovered early the many benefits of sharing knowledge with its stakeholders. The sophisticated reporting system they designed ensures continuous improvement and flow of information.
In 2010, McDonald’s Switzerland published its second combined Environment and CSR report. Prior to 2008, the company kept its external and internal stakeholders informed by publishing an environmental report every two years. The Swiss reports are developed using a large database and are validated by independent external auditors. The backbone of the report is data collected by McGreen, the ISO 14001-based environmental management system. It provides key figures and measurable targets. McDonald’s Switzerland monitors environmental governance through multiple institutions, such as the Environment Action Team, which is responsible for setting environmental policy, defining the strategy and reviewing targets; the McGreen Team then is responsible for implementation, training and auditing.
The reporting system offers many benefits. For instance, notable cost savings in energy and waste management were achieved. The system also ensures continuous improvements and compliance with environmental laws. Reporting led to well-informed, influential stakeholders and focused specific attention on critical stakeholder issues. Moreover, the reporting system helped McDonald’s Switzerland improve its image and cease being the target of negative media coverage. It also proved to be an excellent internal management tool by supporting communications with restaurant managers, franchisees and suppliers.
“Back in the 1980s and 1990s, McDonald’s Switzerland was a preferred target for negative media coverage relating to the environment. Our response was to shift from a reactive to a proactive sustainability strategy, to confront the issues, and finally, to publish our achievements regularly in environmental reports. The key was to set up a strong database to communicate about real data, to set measurable targets, and to become accountable. This helped us engage with relevant national stakeholders. And it helped franchisees and restaurant managers dialogue with their local stakeholders.”
Environment & CSR Manager