What fast food brands are doing to reduce their stores' carbon footprint
In recent years, as the issue of climate change becomes increasingly severe, various industries have started to take positive actions to reduce carbon emissions. The food industry, playing a crucial role in the food service sector, also has its responsibilities.
To reduce the carbon footprint of their stores, many fast-food brands have actively implemented efforts. Here are some typical examples:
McDonald's: Accelerating the construction of "carbon-neutral restaurants"
The daily operations of the restaurant are nearly zero, with energy supplied by two on-site wind turbines and 92 square meters of solar panels (Photo: yankodesign.com)
McDonald's is one of the world's largest fast-food brands. In recent years, McDonald's has been actively building "carbon-neutral restaurants." Currently, McDonald's has successfully built several carbon-neutral restaurants worldwide. McDonald's carbon-neutral restaurants use various energy-saving and environmentally friendly measures, including:
- Installation of solar power systems on the roof to provide electricity for daily restaurant operations
- Utilization of smart energy management systems (IoT) to automatically adjust lighting and temperature, helping to save energy
- Use of recyclable or biodegradable packaging to minimize plastic waste
KFC: Introducing "Green Pioneer Restaurants"
Exterior images of KFC Green Pioneer stores in Hangzhou (above) and Beijing (below) (Photo: 小食代)
KFC is a major competitor to McDonald's. KFC has also set a goal to build "carbon-neutral restaurants." Currently, KFC has introduced two Green Pioneer restaurants in China.
The two Green Pioneer restaurants of KFC use energy-saving and environmentally friendly measures similar to McDonald's carbon-neutral restaurants. Additionally, these two restaurants have some differences, including:
- Use of energy-efficient LED lighting
- Utilization of rainwater for plant irrigation
- Use of recycled building materials
Starbucks: Building "Green Store Frameworks"
As a manifestation of Starbucks' green philosophy, the "Green Workshop" offers innovative experiences for consumers and promotes a new green lifestyle. (Photo: SocialBeta.com)
Starbucks is the world's largest coffee brand. Starbucks has built the "Green Store Framework" to encourage stores worldwide to adopt sustainable standards.
Currently, more than 3,500 Starbucks stores worldwide have been certified as "Green Store Framework" stores. These stores use energy-saving and environmentally friendly measures, including:
- Use of renewable energy
- Efficient water use
- Use of sustainable materials
Subway: Collaborating with EV Charging Infrastructure Provider
The sandwich giant Subway is planning to build "green charging islands" with green spaces, bathrooms, and play areas. (Photo: Subway)
Subway is the world's largest sandwich brand. Subway is also actively exploring sustainable ideas.
In 2023, Subway collaborated with the EV charging infrastructure provider GenZ EV Solutions to introduce the "green electric vehicle charging station" model. This model transforms Subway stores into small, fast electric vehicle charging stations.
This model uses energy-saving and environmentally friendly measures, including:
- Use of solar energy to charge electric vehicles
- Use of sustainable materials to build the store
Burger King: Promoting "Green Ahead"
The Burger King restaurant with photovoltaic and wind turbine systems in Waghausel in Bavaria (Photo: Burger King)
Burger King is the world's largest hamburger brand. Burger King has also set a goal to build "carbon-neutral restaurants."
Currently, Burger King is conducting energy analysis for stores worldwide to establish green building standards. Additionally, Burger King is encouraging its exclusive stores to implement sustainability improvements.
The exemplary examples above illustrate how fast-food brands can reduce the carbon emissions of their stores through various ways, including:
- Use of renewable energy: Fast-food brands can install solar power systems, wind power systems, or hydropower systems on the roof of the store to provide energy for store operations. This will help reduce carbon emissions from the use of fossil energy.
- Use of energy-efficient equipment: Fast-food brands can use energy-efficient equipment such as LED lights, inverter air conditioners, water-saving dishwashers, etc., to reduce the store's electricity consumption.
- Use of sustainable materials: Fast-food brands can use sustainable building materials such as recycled bricks, recycled wood, etc., to reduce waste and environmental pollution.
- Reducing food waste: Fast-food brands can reduce food waste by implementing measures such as planning a reasonable menu, using food management software, etc.
- Reducing single-use plastic: Fast-food brands can reduce the use of single-use plastic by transitioning to the use of recyclable or biodegradable packaging.
The efforts of fast-food brands to reduce the carbon emissions of their stores are an important part of the overall efforts to minimize the impact of climate change.