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Beef Sustainability Approach

As one of the world’s largest purchasers of beef through the Burger King brand restaurants, Restaurant Brands International cares deeply about the industry’s ability to deliver high-quality, sustainable beef over the long-term. We are committed to ensuring our guests and stakeholders have confidence in a beef value chain that protects our environmental resources, prioritizes the humane treatment of animals and responsible use of antibiotics, along with supporting the rights and livelihoods of the farmers, ranchers, workers and communities in the supply chain.

Given the importance of these issues, we will do our part to advance beef sustainability by improving our own sourcing approach, promoting best practice at all levels of the supply chain and driving innovative solutions through research and collaboration. In the coming years, we will concentrate our activities and investments in three complementary and mutually-reinforcing action areas, working in partnership with suppliers, our peers and other industry stakeholders to:

Support market development of sustainable beef

  • Leveraging the scale of the Burger King brand to increase the proportion of beef raised to meet sustainability criteria, through improvement of our procurement requirements and processes and more transparent reporting.

Collaborate for systematic improvements

  • Accelerating best practice adoption through collaborative partnerships with suppliers, peers and key beef stakeholders such as the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB).
  • Support pioneering solutions at all levels of the beef value chain.

Increase traceability in our supply chain

  • Engaging our suppliers to expand traceability and increase the proportion of supply for Burger King that is traceable to sustainable sources.

Setting Tangible Targets

The global beef supply chain is vast and complex, with a variety of production systems and context-specific sustainability challenges. Burger King approved source from farming communities across the world and different countries have different standards and different capabilities when it comes to enabling traceability. We will work, in partnership with our suppliers and industry stakeholders, to address sustainability challenges that are relevant in each region and to set tangible sustainable sourcing targets that are informed by the regional context.

Our vision for sustainable beef is based on the GRSB’s definition and core principles of sustainable beef, as a:

“socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable product that prioritizes Planet (relevant principles: Natural Resources, Efficiency and Innovation, People and the Community); People (relevant principles: People and the Community and Food); Animals (relevant principle: Animal Health and Welfare); and Progress (relevant principles: Natural Resources, People and the Community, Animal Health and Welfare, Food, Efficiency and Innovation).”

In 2019, Burger King set its first public sustainable sourcing goal for beef. We committed to:

  • increase the proportion of beef sourced from approved suppliers that aligns with our vision for beef sustainability to 30% of the beef supply for Burger King restaurants in the US by 2022. We will achieve this by working with our suppliers, peers, and experts to understand and promote best practices at all levels of the chain.

As our largest global market, setting a tangible goal within North America was a significant first step. In order to meet our sustainable procurement criteria, we assessed available beef standards and identified those that align with our vision. In 2020, we will repeat this process beyond North America: engaging suppliers, mapping the relevant production standards that meet our vision and defining additional targets that advance our sustainable beef sourcing goal.

Industry Collaboration

We believe that the only way to truly affect change is to collaborate with our peers, experts and industry stakeholders. It is crucial to tackle systemic issues and to provide harmonized expectations – thus accelerating the adoption of sustainable practices in beef production across our supply footprint.
As a major purchaser of beef across global markets, it’s especially critical to bring the voice of the Burger King brand to the table to advance these efforts. We are active participants in the global, multi-stakeholder collaboration on beef sustainability - the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) and its associated regional roundtables, including the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB). We believe this is important to both help shape the dialogue on beef sustainability at the global level and to help develop and test tools that can improve the sustainability of beef production in our significant markets.

GRSB

As a member of the GRSB, we endorse its definition and core principles of sustainable beef as a:

“socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable product that prioritizes Planet (relevant principles: Natural Resources, Efficiency and Innovation, People and the Community); People (relevant principles: People and the Community and Food); Animals (relevant principle: Animal Health and Welfare); and Progress (relevant principles: Natural Resources, People and the Community, Animal Health and Welfare, Food, Efficiency and Innovation).”

CRSB

The CRSB, is a not-for-profit, collaborative, multi-stakeholder organization focused on advancing sustainability in the Canadian beef industry. Its main areas of work include Sustainability Benchmarking, a Certification Framework and Sustainability Projects.

Restaurant Brands International has actively contributed inputs to CRSB’s Certified Sustainable Beef Framework, which seeks to drive the advancement and recognition of beef sustainability in Canada through a world class operation-level certification program.

USRSB

The USRSB is a multi-stakeholder initiative developed to advance, support and communicate continuous improvement in sustainability of the U.S. beef value chain. In 2019 the USRSB adopted the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework to voluntarily assess core elements of sustainability and encourage continuous improvement across the U.S. beef value-chain. These core elements include water resources, land resources, animal health and well-being, employee safety and well-being, efficiency and yield and air and greenhouse gas emissions. In support of USRSB’s efforts and in order to understand the status of sustainability in its beef supply chain, Burger King has issued USRSB’s self-assessment questionnaire to all of the beef processors we procure from across the U.S.

Identifying and Scaling
Solutions

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.

The Cow’s Menu: targeting methane reduction through feed

The digestive process for cattle is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. Burger King is currently supporting scientific efforts to reduce cow-based methane emissions up to 35% by adding lemongrass to their diet.

This initiative, which was ideated by WeBelievers New York, consists of 2 experiments: one in Mexico under the supervision of subject matter expert Dr. Octavio Castelán, another at the University of California-Davis (UC Davis), overseen by Ermias Kebreab, Deputy Director of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute. Initial results from Mexico saw an average reduction across experiments of 35% compared with the control treatment. The next step will be to replicate the experiment carried out in Mexico and validate results at UC Davis with eighteen steers. The lemongrass supplement will also be fed to an additional fifty heads of cattle at UC Davis for processing. It is our goal to make the first products from this cattle available in select Burger King restaurants in the US starting March 2020.

Learn more about other sustainable sourcing in our supply chain:

Forest Commitment

Learn More →

Values

Animal Welfare

Learn More →