Restaurant Brands International Inc. on Wednesday announced new targets on climate-change-related greenhouse gases, saying it would work with franchisees and suppliers to cut emissions 50% by 2030.
The Toronto-based parent to quick-service brands Burger King, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Tim Hortons said the goals were approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), and RBI has set a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.
"As one of the largest quick service restaurant companies in the world, we have a critical role to play in addressing the threat of global climate change, which is important for our planet and for our guests," said José Cil, CEO of RBI, in a statement. "We've done the hard work to determine where we stand, where we can make the most meaningful impact, and the actions we need to take to move the needle.”
The company said the emissions goals were part of its broader “Restaurant Brands for Good” strategy.
“Increasingly, sustainability has become a priority for our guests,” said Cil in a letter outlining the greenhouse gas goals. He cited a study of 1,000 customers done for Popeyes that found almost two-thirds of U.S. quick-service customers viewed view sustainable practices as “very important.” A study of 1,264 customers for Tim Hortons in Canada found nearly 50% of quick-service guests took steps to minimize their impact on the environment.
RBI’s greenhouse gas emissions targets were compared to a 2019 base year.
The company said, “Though there is much work ahead, the potential impact is compelling: achieving these targets would prevent an estimated 25.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (emissions from being released into the atmosphere by 2030 as compared to a business-as-usual scenario.”
The company compared that amount of emissions to taking 5.5 million passenger cars off the road in the United States for an entire year – or the total number of household vehicles in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City combined, according to calculations based on 2021 data from the U.S. Environment Protection Agency and the latest available U.S. census data.
"We congratulate RBI on setting targets consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement," said Alberto Carrillo Pineda, executive director for science-based targets at CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project. "By setting ambitious targets grounded in climate science, RBI is taking action to help reduce the effects of climate change."
RBI said it planned to achieve its targets by promoting leading environmental stewardship practices already underway in the agricultural supply chain through partnerships with suppliers, researchers, farmers and ranchers. The plan also includes initiatives such as using renewable energy in operations, implementing energy-efficient equipment and converting to electric vehicle use.
RBI's Restaurant Brands for Good strategy is available on the company’s website.
Restaurant Brands International has more than 27,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.
Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless