Over the past few years, McDonald’s has grown its subsidiary coffeehouse brand McCafe like a juiced-up Starbucks — there are now 1,300 Mc-coffee shops worldwide. That’s a lot of coffee! And now the company says it wants that coffee to be greener.
Over the next five years, McDonald’s plans to invest $6.5 million to help about 13,000 Guatamalan coffee growers produce fancier, more sustainable beans, to be used in a proprietary arabica blend. The company says it aims “to promote the environmental, ethical and economic long-term sustainability of coffee supplies.” From Bloomberg:
“Investing in both certification and sustainable agriculture training addresses the immediate need to assist farmers today, expands capacity for greater sustainable coffee production in the future and helps assure our customers we will continue to provide the taste profile they have grown to love and expect from McDonald’s,” Susan Forsell, the vice president of sustainability, said in the statement.
The company, which buys coffee from Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Brazil and Sumatra, said it already gets all of its Rainforest Alliance Certified espresso from sustainable farms. The [new] initiative seeks to address root causes of poverty among farming communities by expanding the use of techniques that will promote sustainable, profitable agricultural, McDonald’s said.
It’s not clear if this is on par with McDonald’s much-lauded switch to “sustainable seafood,” which, it turns out, is not super-sustainable.
As it happens, climate change could wipe out arabica beans. Central American growers are already having problems with higher temps and humidity that are making fungus grow like gangbusters across the region. Drink up while you still can, Ronald, because when arabica’s gone, all we’ll have is bitter but caffeine-jacked robusta.