McDonald's USA today announced that it will adopt the Marine Stewardship Council's blue ecolabel on its fish packaging in restaurants nationwide. The practice was implemented in recognition of the chain's 10-year commitment to sustainable fishing practices.
As one of the largest single buyers of fish in the country, McDonald's scale will help assure that growing seafood demands are balanced with MSC's responsible sourcing practices to maintain the health and sustainability of fish stocks for the future. Sustainable fish sourcing is part of McDonald's broader commitment to sustainable sourcing and 100 percent of all fish sold in its U.S. restaurants has been certified sustainable.
"McDonald's collaboration with the Marine Stewardship Council is a critical part of our company's journey to advance positive environmental and economic practices in our supply chain," said Dan Gorsky, senior vice president of U.S. supply chain and sustainability. "We're extremely proud of the fact that this decision ensures our customers will continue to enjoy the same great taste and high quality of our fish with the additional assurance that the fish they are buying can be traced back to a fishery that meets MSC's strict sustainability standard."
McDonald's, which uses MSC-certified wild-caught Alaska Pollock for its Filet-O-Fish sandwich, will begin displaying the MSC ecolabel on product packaging, in-restaurant communications and external marketing beginning in February 2013 – coinciding with the launch of Fish McBites, McDonald's newest fish menu item, which also uses wild-caught, MSC-certified Alaska Pollock.
"Through this partnership with McDonald's, millions of McDonald's U.S. customers each day have an opportunity to recognize and reward sustainable fishing practices that not only preserve fish stocks, but support seafood industry livelihoods and communities that depend on fishing," said MSC CEO Rupert Howes.
MSC certification indicates that more than 14,000 McDonald's restaurants across the U.S. have met the MSC Chain of Custody standard for traceability, which is the ability to track the fish all the way back through the supply chain to the fishery.
Under the MSC certification program, these fisheries have been assessed by independent scientists against three core principles: the health of the fish stock, the impact of the fishery on the ecosystem and the management system that oversees the fishery.
Today's announcement represents the latest step in McDonald's decade-long collaboration with suppliers to improve sustainable fishing practices throughout its supply chain.
"World Wildlife Fund supports the MSC as the only credible standard for sustainable wild-caught seafood. McDonald's decision to display the MSC ecolabel on its seafood products gives consumers a way to contribute to the conservation of the world's biodiversity," said Bill Fox, vice president and managing director of fisheries at World Wildlife Fund. "It also demonstrates McDonald's leadership in feeding a growing population while helping to maintain healthy fisheries."
In 2011, McDonald's introduced the same MSC certification for all its European restaurants. McDonald's USA also worked with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and Conservation International for more than 10 years to support sustainable fishing practices.
Read more about sustainability initiatives.