The news this week that McDonald’s will use only Alaskan Pollack—sustainably fished in the wild—in its Filet-O-Fish and Fish McBites products, proves the point that corporate social responsibility is taking the business world by storm.
And these days the restaurant industry appears to be leading the CSR charge. The Los Angeles Times reported this week that McDonald’s, Burger King and IHOP have all launched food sourcing initiatives.
Burger King announced that it was cutting ties with a farm whose meat had horse DNA in it, while IHOP and Applebee’s owner Dine Equity pledged to eliminate gestation crates from its pork supply chain (joining Carl’s Jr. in a similar initiative announced last summer).
These chains join In-N-Out Burger (a particular favorite of this author), which cut ties last summer with a meat supplier accused of animal abuse.
In addition, McDonald’s—one of the largest buyers of fish in the U.S.—will pay the Marine Stewardship Council for the right put the group’s label on its product packaging, joining Wal-Mart, Whole Foods and Walgreens, which already carry products that bear the MSC moniker.
Research has show that these types of sustainability initiatives resonate with the public, and no doubt these restaurant brands are looking to counter the national issue of obesity. Whatever the reasoning, all of these initiatives have one simple message in common: “We’re doing the right thing,” perhaps the most effective message a brand can have.
Now that McDonald’s has addressed its fish, I’m waiting for fair trade tartar sauce.
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