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McDonald's USA first national restaurant chain to serve MSC certified sustainable fish at all U.S. locations

Jan 24, 2013

Partner Release - OAK BROOK, Ill. (Jan. 24, 2013) – In recognition of its ten year commitment to sustainable fishing practices, McDonald’s USA announced today it would become the first national restaurant chain to adopt the Marine Stewardship Council’s blue ecolabel on its fish packaging in restaurants nationwide.

As one of the largest single buyers of fish in the US, 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 US 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.

Collaboration yields transformative impact

According to MSC Chief Executive Rupert Howes, today’s announcement from McDonald’s USA is the culmination of successes stemming from a working, collaborative relationship.

"Through this partnership with McDonald’s, millions of McDonald’s US 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 Howes.

MSC certification indicates that over 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants across the US 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.

Certification reinforces McDonald's decade-long commitment to fishery sustainability

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 the WWF. "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 ten years to support sustainable fishing practices.

"McDonald’s has played a leadership role in supporting sustainable fisheries for a decade and has consistently been at the leading edge of activities to improve the management of our oceans," said Jim Cannon, chief executive officer for the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. "McDonald’s understood the importance of sustainable seafood ahead of others in the business and adopted a visionary approach of supporting the improvement of fisheries rather than just switching to other sources. Sustainable Fisheries Partnership has been proud to work with McDonalds for many years and has seen huge improvements in the quality of fisheries management as a result of our joint efforts." 

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