London (PRWEB UK) 14 February 2014
Embargoed until 15:00 17 February 2014
Raymond Blanc OBE, President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), today (Monday 17 February) presented McDonald’s UK Chief Executive Officer, Jill McDonald, with an award acknowledging the significant contribution the company has made towards improving the sustainability of the British food industry.
The chef patron of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, made the presentation of the Raymond Blanc Sustainability Hero Award at the Sustainable Restaurant Awards in London, in recognition of the many initiatives McDonald’s UK has implemented over the last 15 years, saying that he hoped the award would encourage the company to go further still.
He said: “Ten years ago I would have said that McDonald’s UK would struggle to exist as a business unless it completely changed its ethics. Since that time it has made significant changes to the food it sources and how it manages its environmental footprint. Since they switched to free-range eggs in 1998, they use 110 million a year. They have used Marine Stewardship Council certified fish since 200, selling 18 million Filet-o-fish and 8 million fish finger portions a year. They switched to Organic milk in 2003 and now use 80 million litres a year. And last year they made the change to Freedom Food pork.
“These are really important improvements, all made on British soil, which benefit British farmers and celebrate British produce. In reality, McDonald’s is affecting the eating experience of millions of people at all levels, creating fast food which is not only affordable, but also sustainable.
“I have always applauded people and businesses that change for the better. I am presenting this award to Jill McDonald to recognise these commendable improvements and to encourage the company to go even further and seriously address other sustainability issues.
“By raising sustainable values and promoting good ethics McDonald’s UK has also created a sustainable business which can thrive. Whereas previously it was always about the price point, now sustainability is a key part of the business model.
“This award should also serve as an inspiration to other food businesses both large and small. Today, we have a huge opportunity, it is our responsibility in the industry to look at how each of us operates and look at a more sustainable way to operate our businesses, to move forward successfully and for the planet to thrive. This choice will translate into a good and sustainable business.”
This is the second time that Raymond Blanc, as President of the SRA, has presented the award. Last year’s winner was Sheila Dillon, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme.
Jill McDonald said: “This is a fantastic accolade for McDonald’s UK. The three pillars at the heart of the Sustainable Restaurant Association – Sourcing, Society and Environment – are absolutely at the heart of everything we do. We know that doing the right thing for the Environment matters to our customers and we are committed to using our scale to drive positive changes. For example our move last year to Freedom Food pork made it easier for people to make affordable, ethical choices on the high street meaning consumers can continue to enjoy food that is responsibly-sourced, tastes great and is helping to support British and Irish farmers too.
“McDonald’s is a business that operates in the heart of many communities around the UK. Our reach means that we work with hundreds of suppliers, over 17,500 farmers and employ over 97,000 people. So for us it is simple – by working together we want to make a real difference. We don’t pretend to have all the answers but we will continue to work hard with our staff, our supply chain and the communities in which we operate to adopt responsible sustainable business practices.”
The Raymond Blanc Sustainability Hero Award was one of 18 presented by Raymond Blanc at the Sustainable Restaurant Awards at Roast restaurant in London’s Borough Market.
Notes to Editors
The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) is a not for profit membership organisation helping restaurants become more sustainable and diners make more sustainable choices when dining out. We help our Members source food more sustainably, manage resources more efficiently and work more closely with their community. The SRA Sustainability Star Rating scheme means diners can find a restaurant that matches their sustainability priorities.
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