McDonald’s USA gets an environmental pat on the back this week for making a move towards sustainability and serving Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sustainable fish at all of their U.S. eateries.
Popular McDonald’s items such as the Filet-O-Fish sandwich and the newly launched Fish McBites will display the MSC ecolabel to signify that McDonald’s fish meets MSC standards. These standards regulate “the health of fish stock, the impact of the fishery on the ecosystem, and the management system that oversees the fishery.” The fast food giant is the first national restaurant chain to serve exclusively sustainable fish, and the MSC is hopeful that McDonald’s will be the first in a long line of franchises moving away from overfishing and towards a more sustainable model.
Of course, McDonald’s has a vested interest in making sure that the world’s fish supply doesn’t go kaput (it’d be a little difficult to market the Fish McBites if the Alaskan Polluck they contain went extinct, for example) but McDonald’s interest in sustainability only goes so far. In a 2012 interview with Bloomberg News, McDonald’s vice president of sustainability Bob Langert owned up to McDonald’s less-than-stellar beef practices by saying, “Can we say we’re buying any sustainable beef today? No, we can’t. Could we be buying sustainable beef? We might be.”
Last we checked, McDonald’s was still the largest purchaser of American beef in the United States, so until they start applying sustainable models to their entire business plan, we’re going to take those MSC stickers with a whole packet of salt.