Fast Food is highly popular all over the world. It’s so popular that people tend to prefer one fast food chain over the other even though they all virtually tend to sell the same thing: burgers, nuggets and french fries. When I was younger I used to love McDonalds but nowadays I’ve been supporting Burger King more due to some of their environmental campaigns. Due to the request of a friend I will be researching 3 fast food companies. For now let’s start with Burger King.
On their corporate responsibility webpage, Burger King claim to care about the following things: “Food, People, Environment and Corporate Governance.” So in this article we will discuss the first three aspects they care about.
- On their corporate responsibility webpage, under the food section Burger King says this about their brand: “Our brand promise empowers our guests to make educated choices in customizing their meals to fit their individual lifestyles.”
- On Burger King’s website I easily found a pdf containing information about nutrition on all the food they sell. This shows transparency and helps consumers plan their meal more effectively to their needs. Thus they have indeed kept that promise.
- Furthermore they promise to serve “high quality” food. In an article by Eat This Not That, they revealed that Burger King along with restaurants sometimes contain “potentially allergy-inducing dyes such as Yellow #5” in ingredients like pickles. However I have not found any information of that sort available by Burger King.
- In April 2019 Burger King released a plant based vegan burger called the Impossible Whooper. With many claims of it being vegan no one knew that it actually was not. On November 19, 2019 a lawsuit was filed by a vegan from Atlanta, Georgia against Burger King for allegedly selling Impossible Whopper burgers that were heated on the same grill as their beef burgers. (Source)
While the examples of Burger King providing a nutritional value page and the Impossible Whooper may not seem like they’re related to sustainability they are definitely related to the Fair Trade Principle 2: Transparency and Accountability. This principle loosely links in with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions. Due to not being neither completely transparent nor ensuring the legitimacy of the Impossible Whooper, this causes Burger King to lose a point giving them a 1 / 2.
Burger King states that “every approved vendor must comply with the Code of Business Ethics and Conduct for Vendors. We’ve partnered with, and received recognition from, a variety of organizations that share our dedication to being a good corporate citizen.”
- According to The Guardian (Sept 2019), McDonald’s and Burger King amongst other fast food chains have been sourcing meat from, Marfrig, “a farmer in the Amazon who had been found guilty of using deforested land” to raise their cattle. The cattle graze “on illegally deforested land inside a protected region”. However the supplier has been turning over a new leaf by borrowing funds to change their practices to be greener. Burger King in response to this incident has said “our goal is to eliminate deforestation within our global supply chain, and we are working toward this.” Their competitor McDonald’s on the other hand gives a more concrete date with plans to “eliminate deforestation from its global supply chains by 2030”.
- Extraction from DW’s article: “Bunge and Cargill, two of the world’s largest soy producers, were responsible for the loss of nearly 700,000 hectares of Brazil’s Cerrado forest in just four years, according to Mighty Earth. They supply soy to companies including Burger King.” In addition, ”Burger King boasts that 100 percent of the beef used in its German restaurants comes from German or Austrian cattle. But it doesn’t say where the animals’ food comes from. In fact, very few German producers and retailers can rule out that their meat is connected with the loss of rainforests, according to Greenpeace.”
These examples of the suppliers show that Burger King clearly does not conduct an effective background check on their suppliers. This relates to the UN Goal 2: Zero Hunger where by 2030 they aim to “ensure sustainable food production systems” that “help maintain ecosystems”. Due to this incident and the breach of goal 2, Burger King scores a 0/2.
- On their corporate responsibility website Burger King states that their goal it to create “a culture that is Bold, Accountable, Meritocratic, Empowered and Fun.”
- As seen from the pictures above Burger King seems to have achieved a decent corporate culture, which means they are working towards their goal.
- Furthermore, I came across The BURGER KING McLAMORE℠ Foundation. The foundation is Burger King’s “not-for-profit public charity, whose global effort is aimed at supporting the advancement of education around the world”. The money goes towards “providing hardship assistance to members of the BURGER KING® family”, which means employees and other stakeholders. They also have the BURGER KING℠ Scholars program, which has “awarded more than $40 million to 36,000 deserving students across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico”. Their goal is to “grant one scholarship for every BK® restaurant in North America —that’s more than $7 million each year”. The foundation receives money through donations and not from a part of their profits. Although I could not find articles on their legitimacy there is some footage on BKMcLamore Foundation’s Youtube channel which can prove the legitimacy.
With having a decent working environment and also giving back to those in need through the foundation, Burger King scores a 2/2 in this section.
- Concerning the environment Burger King’s goal is to improve on ”recycling and waste management”.
- According to MentalFloss: “Just a few weeks after introducing the meat-free Impossible Whopper, Burger King announced a new policy for its United Kingdom locations. As CNN reports, UK restaurants will no longer include plastic toys with kids’ meals. Burger King estimates it will avoid wasting 350 tons of single-use plastic a year. The chain has also installed containers in its UK stores for collecting old plastic toys from customers, so the material can be recycled to make playgrounds. The UK represents just a fraction of Burger King’s market, but according to the company, non-biodegradable plastic toys will be phased out of all locations by 2025.”
- As of October 15 2018, 42 outlets of Burger King in Singapore have “stopped giving dine-in customers straws and plastic lids for cold drinks”. (Source)
Since these decisions (discontinuing plastic toys/not providing straws and lids) have not been replicated in other countries it’s hard to tell if they were made out of environmental concern or financial cutbacks. Due to the ambiguity and the long journey they still have to become more environmentally friendly they score 1/ 2 in this section.
FINAL SCORE: 4/8
*** I will make a final post comparing Burger King to McDonalds & KFC in the near future
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