Responsible Sourcing Approach

At Restaurant Brands International, our sourcing approach is simple: integrity, honesty and compliance with the law are not optional. We approach responsible sourcing holistically, considering our impact on the planet, the livelihoods of the people who produce our food, and the well-being of the animals we rely on.

As a consumer-facing business, many of our products’ biggest sustainability impacts are located beyond our own operations. We embrace our responsibility to work with suppliers, franchisees, and other stakeholders to minimize these impacts.

Protecting Forests

Our goal is to eliminate deforestation from our global supply chain by 2030 or sooner. Specifically, we are working to develop a deforestation policy that outlines out goals to ensure our priority commodities do not directly or indirectly contribute to deforestation, promote responsible land use that prevents ecosystem degradation, and protect humane working conditions and legitimate land use rights.

Learn more: Protecting Forests →

Animal Health and Welfare

We know that our ability to serve safe, quality food depends on a foundation of responsible care for the health and welfare of the animals in our supply chain.

While we are not directly involved in the raising, feeding, handling, transportation or processing of animals; as a major global purchaser of animal proteins and animal products, we have an opportunity to leverage our influence to promote strong practices of care for those animals. To achieve this, we are partnering with suppliers and producers across our supply chain to drive toward continuous improvement of animal welfare outcomes throughout their lives.

We focus our animal welfare efforts on key animal proteins and products including broiler poultry, laying hens (for egg production), beef cattle, and pigs. Our strategy starts with building a foundational understanding of current industry practices and opportunities, how these differ around the world, and combines this understanding with a realistic assessment of how these factors can be expected to change over time. We are evolving our global policies on animal welfare and responsible antibiotics use to further support best practices and principles that are expert-informed, evidence-based and will result in improved animal welfare outcomes in our supply chain.

Learn more: Animal Health & Welfare →

Managing and Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Addressing opportunities to reduce emissions from beef is a significant priority for us at RBI, based on the relative impact of this commodity on our total GHG footprint. As the most significant environmental impacts of beef production are found at the feed and beef farming stages of the value chain, Burger King is committed to working with agricultural experts, ranchers and producers in its supply chain to explore and scale sustainable solutions that help to mitigate GHG emissions at these stages in the supply chain, in addition to finding opportunities for cattle to support the protection and regeneration of natural ecosystems that play a role in absorbing or storing carbon.

In 2020, Burger King teamed up with Cargill, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and ranchers In the Northern Great Plains to launch a three-year grasslands restoration program that aims to help keep our climate stable by reducing GHG emissions in the atmosphere, in addition to supporting biodiversity.

In April 2022, Burger King announced a partnership with Cargill and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) on a five-year Initiative to support cattle ranchers who are committed to addressing climate change through regenerative agriculture practices in the Southern Great Plains.

Learn more: Beef Sourcing →

Learn more: Climate Action →

Farmer Livelihoods

There is a coffee farming community behind every cup of Tims coffee that we serve. Together with our local partners, we aim to continuously strengthen the businesses and futures of coffee farmers.

Learn more: Coffee Sourcing →

Assessing Product Impacts Over the Life-Cycle

To identify our significant areas of environmental impact and opportunities, and to track improvements over time, we commissioned a third-party (ERM) to conduct our first Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) in 2020. This is a common methodology for assessing and documenting the environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a lifecycle of a commercial product, process, or service.

The LCA leverages 2019 data, covering all of our food, beverage and paper spend incurred in restaurant, and identifying their environmental impact across carbon, water, and waste (as defined below).

  • Carbon – emissions of greenhouse gases, defined as CO2eq
  • Water – the consumption of surface and groundwater throughout the supply chain of a product. Consumption is defined as loss of water through catchment area, evaporation, release to a different catchment, or incorporation into productions
  • Improving coffee quality
  • Food Waste – the decrease in edible food mass of food destined for human consumption throughout the supply chain

Our methodology combines RBI’s information on the approved food, beverage and paper products our restaurants source, the locations those products are coming from, and environmental data for the lifecycles of those products to estimate overall impact. We used generic data points in the absence of supplier specific data. For future LCAs, we will look to improve data granularity, working to obtain more visibility in the upstream supply chain in order to (1) collect supplier specific data and (2) enable supplier program development at the farm level.

The LCA we conducted will inform ongoing development of RBI’s responsible sourcing strategy, where we will initially focus on emissions reduction. This analysis is a useful input in the development of our target for GHG emissions reduction, and for our future work to develop strategies related to water and food waste management.

Embedding Sustainability into Our Procurement Practices

To understand and manage environmental and social impacts through every part of our business, we place an emphasis on building a resilient and future-proofed supply chain.

In 2021, we hired Action Sustainability to perform an ISO20400 assessment of our global procurement practices. The ISO 20400 sustainable procurement standard focuses on a balanced approach to sustainability, which asses the environmental, social and economic impact of our supply chain, by considering the following:

The outcome of this assessment showed that we had the opportunity to embed sustainability further into our procurement practices, so we developed a three-phase approach to help us achieve this:

In 2022, we launched Phase 1 by developing sustainable procurement frameworks for five key categories, including beef, fries, dairy, poultry and baked goods. These frameworks focus on a variety of key impact areas like antibiotics use, animal welfare, climate action, water consumption, waste and resource efficiency, deforestation, ethical labor, transparency and traceability efforts, support and compliance, as well as our processor’s procurement practices.

We are now working with our internal and external stakeholders to embed and implement these frameworks into the procurement processes we carry out day-to-day across our global supply chains, to help us assess and share feedback with our suppliers consistently. We will then be able to start capturing key outcome measures and reporting on our progress externally.

Our Code of Business Ethics and Conduct for Vendors

To ensure our suppliers observe the same philosophy on responsible sourcing, we have established the RBI Code of Business Ethics and Conduct for Vendors (the "Code"). The Code communicates our requirements and expectations with respect to business integrity and sustainability, with regulatory compliance being a minimum standard of doing business with us.

All approved suppliers were required to certify their compliance with the Vendor Code through self-assessment questionnaires, prioritizing the highest risk vendors commencing in 2020. To date, vendors representing over 85% of our global volumes have completed their certification through a self-assessment questionnaire. Our compliance approach is supplemented with verification audits, which have been conducted for a sample of priority vendors representing over 50% of our global volumes.

If RBI determines that a supplier has violated the Vendor Code, RBI may terminate its business relationship with the supplier or require the supplier to implement a corrective action plan.