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04/01/2009 11:55 AM     print story email story  

McDonald's Agrees To Steps To Reduce Potato Pesticides News

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE: MCD)--the largest purchaser of potatoes in the U.S.--has agreed to preliminary steps to reduce pesticide use within its American potato supply chain, according to shareholder groups.

The agreement led to the withdrawal of a shareholder resolution filed by the Bard College Endowment, Newground Social Investment, and the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund. This was the first shareholder resolution focused on environmental and worker health issues ever to be filed by a college or university endowment.

McDonald’s has committed to survey its current U.S. potato suppliers; compile a list of best practices in pesticide reduction that will be recommended to the company’s global suppliers; and communicate findings related to best practices to shareholders, and in the company’s annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) report.

Bard College student Katherine Burstein, a member of the college’s Committee on Investor Responsibility, said: "Through our work with the Responsible Endowments Coalition--which works on responsible investment issues with colleges and universities across the nation--we learned about the measures companies can take to reduce the undesirable effects of pesticide use, and decided to engage McDonald's on the issue.”

McDonald's said in a statement that its U.S. potato suppliers are already working with their growers to "advance sustainable pesticide practices, such as reductions and alternative methods."

Newground Social Investment CEO Bruce Herbert, a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health, said: “Because McDonald’s has such a commanding presence in the marketplace, this commitment offers the promise of significant reductions of pesticide use--which will benefit consumer health, as well as farm workers, local agricultural communities, and the environment.”

Dr. Richard Liroff, executive director of the Investor Environmental Health Network, said: “Leadership companies such as Sysco (which supplies Wendy’s), General Mills, and Campbell’s have already demonstrated that pesticide use reduction makes sense from both an environmental health and business perspective. We welcome McDonald’s stepping up to the plate and look forward to supporting the company’s efforts to reduce pesticide use in the future.”

Website: 9-14a8.pdf

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