After reading this article today in the Herald Sun, “Maccas hopes green beans are new short black“, I have come to a few conclusions which I have listed below;
- McDonald’s may have a green conscious after all,
- They are trying to bring green products to the mainstream market,
- They may be trying to capture a large percentage of the coffee drinking market from other companies,
- It maybe just marketing hype to suck people into their restaurants to impulse buy the other crap they sell. Super size me baby.
Coffee is one of the most energy intense crops to bring to the western market place, and is grown mostly in tropical areas which is far from the markets it is sold in. The food miles, and therefore the oil utilised, to bring a cup of coffee from where it is grown in South America, to where it gets drunk in Australia, is staggering. They could have picked an easier product to “go green” on, and get some eco kudos in the process. Even by changing to organic pickles or using wholemeal buns would have been easier. And don’t get me started on the disposable paper cups with the plastic lid! Not very sustainable at all, unless they are made from recycled materials.
Don’t get me wrong, I like coffee, and I think that the Fair Trade branding is a good thing for producers, but I believe that we waste a lot of resources by drinking a cup of “green coffee” from McDonalds imported from South America, when we could either buy coffee from East Timor or other Asian countries, or beans grown right here in Australia. A lot less resources would be used if we all adapted this methodology. Locally grown produce is always a better option than shipping or in some cases flying produce from the other side of the world to your plate.
With all things considered, it may not be such a bad thing that McDonalds are tying to do, because I have found from experience, that once a mainstream citizen buys one green product, they start to ask many more green type questions about themselves and the way they live. They then do a little more research and start to buy more green products, and it is a cascade effect from thereon in. Next thing you know, they will have solar PV on their roofs and be driving a hybrid! Seriously! Funnier things happen at sea, I know, I have been there.
Gavin, that’s a truck load of beans that are now being sourced from sustainable farms, rather than those that simply offer the best price.
Even better news, Maccas is absorbing the increased cost, rather than passing it on to the customer.
Hardcore greenies won’t be lining up at Macca’s for their fair trade coffee, because they’re already getting it from other places. But yes, if it helps a few non-greenies realise that their choices can make a difference, then that’s a good thing.
PS: you might be interested in this article about the from the Greens blog.
You are becoming nearly as much of a cynic as me, Gavin! I don’t even believe what the big arches are telling us – Green and MacDonalds – no way and to be sure you are paying for whatever it is they are using and I bet there is a catch! The ONLY reason they are doing anything is for money. I hate them – strong words coming from me – but I do and have never eaten there and never will. A good place to go to the toilet – that’s about all !!
Sharon J says
Hmm… I wonder whether the green coffee thing applies to UK outlets too. I must try to find out. I do find it difficult to believe that McDonald’s are serious about the green issue though – they’re more likely just jumping on the bandwagon in the hope of grabbing a few more customers to seduce with their cardboard beefburgers.
Thanks for all your comments as always.
Macca’s is not nor will be green in the true sense, and just by changing their brand of coffee, will still not entice me into their restaurants (if you can call them that).
Even my 8 year old son Ben understands that Happy Meals don’t make you happy, but he still has an obsession of comparing local playgrounds to the one at our local golden arches! I think it is because there are so many brainwashed kids (and parents) at Maccas that he does this. It just goes to show that M’s advertising campaigns are very, very effective with children, who are their main target audience. So, if the kids want to go, the parents will inevitably take them, and buy some of their crappy burgers as well!
Crazy Mumma says
I second your thoughts in your last comment, Gavin. I should point out though that their new coffee is NOT FairTrade, it is “Rainforest Alliance” – it supposedly has green credentials BUT allows the “market” to decided the price of the beans. Therefore heaps cheaper than Fairtrade coffee, because they can squeeze the producers.
All greenwashing if you ask me, and it won’t induce me to buy there.