McDonald’s Stakeholders & CSR, ESG Strategy

McDonald’s stakeholders, corporate social responsibility, CSR, corporate citizenship, sustainability, food service business ethics analysis case study
The interior of a McDonald’s in Budapest, Hungary. McDonald’s corporate social responsibility initiatives address stakeholders’ interests in the fast-food business. (Photo: Public Domain)

McDonald’s stakeholders affect the firm, especially by way of consumer perception. The company has a variety of corporate citizenship and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs to address its stakeholders’ interests. In theory, stakeholders affect business and are affected by business. This condition points to the importance of McDonald’s corporate social responsibility efforts as a way of optimizing the company’s position relative to its stakeholders. As the leading firm in the global fast-food restaurant industry, the company has corporate social responsibility strategies for managing stakeholders and satisfying their interests, such as business sustainability. McDonald’s success is partly based on its corporate social responsibility efforts.

McDonald’s corporate social responsibility policy and programs address most stakeholders to ensure prudent business relations. The company includes stakeholders’ interests in its CSR efforts, especially in programs for investors and communities. The overall satisfactory corporate citizenship of the restaurant chain helps maintain a positive brand image, which are among the competitive advantages and strengths noted in the SWOT analysis of McDonald’s. These strengths ensure business viability despite competitors, such as Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway, and Dunkin’, as well as Starbucks and Tim Hortons. These food-service firms’ marketing strategies, corporate citizenship strategies, and sustainability programs result in aggressive competition.

McDonald’s Stakeholders & CSR, ESG Initiatives

McDonald’s top stakeholders are its employees and customers. However, the firm’s corporate social responsibility status is also subject to the influence of other stakeholders. The following are McDonald’s main stakeholder groups:

  1. Employees
  2. Customers
  3. Investors
  4. Communities

Employees. McDonald’s corporate citizenship approach prioritizes employees as its top stakeholder group. The interests of these stakeholders include career development and fair compensation. The food-service business addresses these interests through training and development programs. For example, the company maintains Hamburger University, which is a training facility for its personnel. McDonald’s also has a global mobility policy that supports leadership development. However, the food-service business is known for low wages. Thus, the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts only partially satisfy the interests of this stakeholder group. Nonetheless, McDonald’s workplace culture helps provide a positive environment for employees. This positive environment contributes to the strength of the fast-food company’s corporate citizenship status.

Customers. McDonald’s Corporation views its customers as its second-priority stakeholder group. The interests of these stakeholders include affordable and healthful food choices. The company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives ensure the affordability of its food and beverage products through standardization and supply-chain streamlining and sustainability. However, the business is widely criticized for the health effects of its foods. In this regard, McDonald’s corporate social responsibility efforts only partially satisfy the interests of customers as a major stakeholder group. The corporate social responsibility to this stakeholder group relates to McDonald’s generic strategy for competitive advantage and intensive strategies for growth. These strategies reflect the restaurant chain’s approach to growing the business for a larger consumer base through various initiatives, including corporate citizenship and sustainability programs.

Investors. McDonald’s strives to fulfill the demands of investors, who are a stakeholder group in the business. The interests of these stakeholders include profitability and growing revenues. McDonald’s addresses these concerns through stable business operations. The company currently has a low but stable growth rate. The introduction of new products, such as through McCafé, also helps address such interests. Thus, McDonald’s corporate social responsibility efforts effectively satisfy the interests of the stakeholder group of investors. Also, the fulfillment of the strategic objectives based on McDonald’s mission statement and vision statement comes with profitability, which supports the interests of this stakeholder group.

Communities. McDonald’s supports communities, which are stakeholders in the business. The interests of these stakeholders include community development support, business sustainability, and environmental programs. McDonald’s corporate citizenship strategy has sustainability and support programs for this stakeholder group. The company’s partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities provides financial support for families in need. The firm’s sourcing policy prioritizes sustainable production to encourage sustainability in farms and other producers. Also, the McDonald’s Global Best of Green report recognizes and rewards innovative environmental ideas and contributions. Thus, the company has a wide variety of corporate social responsibility programs to support these stakeholders. Many of these corporate citizenship approaches to business ethics relate to the ecological and sociocultural trends in the industry, as demonstrated in the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis of McDonald’s. In this regard, the company’s sustainability and corporate citizenship efforts for this stakeholder group are a response to the trends influencing the food service industry environment. McDonald’s fulfills its corporate social responsibility to the stakeholder group of communities.

McDonald’s CSR, ESG Performance in Addressing Stakeholders’ Interests

McDonald’s corporate social responsibility initiatives are considerable. They are effective in addressing the interests of the stakeholder groups of investors and communities. However, McDonald’s corporate citizenship approach only partially satisfies the interests of employees and customers, who are major stakeholders in the business. Thus, the company can improve its corporate social responsibility efforts. For example, the restaurant chain’s employment policies for its operations and the operations of franchisees and licensees can include improved compensation to satisfy employees’ concerns about their wages. Sustainable business practices and product innovation for more healthful foods can also help satisfy the concerns of McDonald’s customers.