For the first time in its long and greasy history, the McDonald’s organization has been recognized for something other than clogged arteries and expanding waste lines. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that McDonald’s USA of Oakbrook, Ill., earned a place on its list of the Top 50 green-powered organizations.
According to the EPA, various initiatives to conserve power, reduce carbon emissions, and consume more renewable energy, led it to place McDonald’s at number 11 on the list of 50 companies. Ironically, the EPA itself only managed to earn 18th place on the list.
The EPA reports that McDonald’s earned this recognition for its commitment to match 30 percent of its electricity use at company-owned restaurants in 2011 and 2012 with renewable energy certificates from U.S. wind sources. This means that while McDonald’s is still consuming copious amount of energy, it’s using some of its massive profit to support American wind farms, offsetting some of that consumption.
Intel, Kohl’s Department Stores, and the Microsoft Corporation were the top three companies on the list. Although major corporations dominated the upper tiers of the ranking, with significant consumption of biomass, geothermal, and small-hydro power as well as solar and wind energy.
Combined, the Top 50 members of the EPA’s Green Power Partnership use more than 15 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Through their use of renewable energy, these organizations are avoiding carbon pollution equal to that created by electricity use of more than 1.3 million American homes each year. Although bigger companies dominate the list, the EPA is quick to point out that it works with more than 1,300 partner organizations, over half of which are small businesses and nonprofit organizations, to voluntarily use green power.