Burger King






5505 Blue Lagoon Drive Miami, Florida 33126 United States







Matthew Banton   





Report created by Kavita Kripalani

Burger King

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

Founded in 1954, the BURGER KING® brand is the second largest fast food hamburger chain in the world. The original HOME OF THE WHOPPER®, the BURGER KING® system operates more than 17,800 locations in more than 100 countries and U.S. territories. Almost 100 percent of BURGER KING® restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees, many of them family-owned operations that have been in business for decades.

Parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. is one of the world’s largest quick service restaurant companies with approximately $32 billion in annual system-wide sales and 27,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries and U.S. territories. RBI owns three of the world’s most prominent and iconic quick service restaurant brands – TIM HORTONS®, BURGER KING®, and POPEYES®. These independently operated brands have been serving their respective guests, franchisees and communities for over 45 years.


Founded in 1954, the BURGER KING® brand is the second largest fast food hamburger chain in the world. The original HOME OF THE WHOPPER®, the BURGER KING® system operates more than 17,800 locations in more than 100 countries and U.S. territories. Almost 100 percent of BURGER KING® restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees, many of them family-owned operations that have been in business for decades.  

Company Sustainability Activity

Parent company Restaurant Brands for Good (Action Plan on Sustainability) is built on the company’s first materiality assessment which was conducted to identify the most important sustainability issues for their business.

Over the past year, the company benchmarks themselves in relation to their industry peers and competitors, assessed guests’ priorities through consumer research and social media, captured external stakeholder perspectives through Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) requests and investor inquiries, and cross-referenced these topics against an assessment of business risks in order to gather key insights and concerns to consider.

RBI identifies ten priority topics, which form the three key pillars of Food, Planet, and People & Communities. The company will focus on these pillars as they work to make an impact in the industry and bring their sustainability vision to life.

This analysis is based on Burger King’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International. 

Parent company Restaurant Brands International identifies ten priority topics, which form the three key pillars of Food, Planet, and People & Communities. The company will focus on these pillars as they work to make an impact in the industry and bring their sustainability vision to life.


Food safety is the company’s number one priority at Restaurant Brands International. Food safety is proactively managed through their industry leading food quality assurance program including robust vendor and restaurant audits to ensure compliance with food safety guidelines and policies the company also works with industry, academia, and regulatory agencies on advancing food safety standards and practises globally.


RBI’s team of nutritionists and food innovation professionals drive their strategy to provide guests with balanced menu options and to equip them with the information to make educated choices about their meals to fit their individual lifestyles.


RBI believes affordable meals should also include high-quality ingredients, and knowing these are wholesome, simple, and familiar is more important than ever to their guests. For them, real ingredients means no colours, flavors, or preservatives from artificial sources. That’s why their brands are working to remove ingredients from artificial sources from food menus.

PLANET (SDG12, SDG 13, SDG 15)


Packaging helps RBI safely and conveniently serve their guests the food they love, but they know that packaging and plastic waste is threatening the health of the planet and they have a responsibility to help solve this challenge. Working closely with their suppliers, the company is innovating to reduce their use of packaging, transition to more sustainable materials and help their guests to reuse and recycle.


With four restaurant support centers and over 26,000 locations around the world, RBI and the company’s brands are working to reduce the impact that the business has on the environment and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. In order to help the company’s restaurant owners minimize their environmental footprints, their restaurant design teams develop building standards that incorporate the use of leading industry products and practices focused on reducing usage of water, energy, and waste, in both new restaurants and updates to their existing locations.


Food production can be resource intensive and environmentally impactful, which is why RBI is committed to responsible sourcing the food they serve. Their commitment extends to their supply chain and the people, land and animals that may be impacted by the company’s business. Participation in multi-stakeholder roundtables and active engagement with their suppliers supports industry wide advancements of sustainable sourcing practises for their priority commodities. At the same time, their quality assurance and supply chain teams work together to develop and uphold responsible sourcing standards through the procurement process.


    • In the UK, Burger King has completely removed all plastic toys from its King Junior Meals, estimated to save 320 tonnes of single use plastic annually.
    • Burger King Korea and Burger King India have implemented a reusable cup system for in-store guests.
    • Across the company’s four global restaurant support centers, the company has fully transitioned to using reusable cup systems and have removed all non-biodegradable packaging.
    • In 2018, 34% of directly sourced palm oil was from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)-certified sources.
    • Burger King has fulfilled their global commitment to source 100% of fiber-based packaging from certified or recycled sources.



Food Safety:

  • Provide safe, high quality and great-tasting food, by maintaining rigorous industry-leading standards for vendor quality assurance and restaurant food safety.

Improving Choice, Nutrition & Transparency:

  • Set targets to reduce fat, sodium, and sugar across existing entrees, meal combinations, and side dishes at Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes restaurants globally.
  • Make nutrition information increasingly accessible both within their restaurants and online to help guests make informed dietary choices for themselves and their families.

Real Ingredients:

  • By 2021, remove colours from artificial sources, artificial flavours, and artificial preservatives from all branded food ingredients at Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes restaurants in Canada and the US.
  • In 2020, measure and understand current usage of antibiotics in the chicken supply chain for Popeyes as well as the beef supply chain for Tim Hortons and Burger King, then establish reduction targets for the US and Canadian markets.


Packaging & Recycling:

  • By 2021, phase out expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam in all guest packaging globally
  • By 2025, 100% of approved guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled, or certified sources.
  • By 2025, recycle guest packaging in 100% of Burger King restaurants in Canada and the US.
  • By 2025 – phase out non-biodegradable plastic toys from Burger King

Green Buildings:

  • Design, build and operate restaurants and corporate offices to be more sustainable using their design standards to reduce energy consumption, water use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and waste.
  • In 2020, they will measure and understand their carbon footprint to establish reduction targets for Burger King and Tim Hortons restaurants in Canada and the US.

Responsible Sourcing:

  • By 2020, all palm oil directly sourced as well as palm oil and palm kernel oil in our branded products will be from suppliers who can verify sustainable production.
  • By 2022, 30% of beef for Burger King US will be sustainably sourced.
  • By 2022 in the US and Canada, Burger King and Tim Hortons are committed to sourcing pork only from approved suppliers that do not use gestation crates, and will accomplish this in Latin America by 2025.
  • By 2025, Burger King will transition to 100% cage-free eggs in the North American and Latin American markets.
  • By 2030 or sooner, will eliminate deforestation from priority commodities within their supply chain, including beef, palm oil, soy in poultry feed, coffee and fiber-based packaging.


Diversity & Inclusion:

  • Build a culture that attracts, develops and retains diverse employees, franchisees and suppliers to drive global growth.

Talent Development:

  • Recruit and support the best talent to build the most loved restaurant brands in the world.

Ethics & Human Rights:

  • “Respect and uphold human rights and ethical business practises across our business”.

Improving Supplier Livelihoods:

  •  “Support the success of the farmers who raise, grow and produce our quality ingredients”.

Supporting Communities:

  • “Our brands are committed to contributing time, talent and funds to build up the communities they serve”.



Food Safety:

  • 100% of restaurants worldwide are subject to rigorous, regular food safety inspections.

Improving Choice, Nutrition & Transparency:

  • As of February 2020, all permanent à la carte items on the Burger King US the menu contains less than 2,400 mg sodium. In total, this means that in 2020 more than 1 million tablespoons of salt have been removed.
  • Burger King launched a new online nutrition information platform to provide guests with the ability to search, filter, and identify the menu options they’re craving that fit their dietary restrictions and needs.

Real Ingredients:

  • 85% of permanent Burger King US menu items are now free from ingredients from artificial sources.
  • As of 2018, both Tim Hortons and Burger King only source chickens raised without the use of antibiotics important to human medicine in Canada and the US.


Packaging & Recycling:

  • Tim Hortons approved packaging is already free from EPS foam globally. Burger King and Popeyes expect to phase out by 2020 and 2021 respectively.
  • By introducing wooden stirrers and a straw-less lid for iced beverages in Canada, Tim Hortons eliminated the need for plastic straws and stir sticks.

  • Burger King sourced fiber-based packaging from certified or recycled sources globally by the end of 2019. Popeyes plans to achieve this by 2021.

  • Burger King UK has removed all plastic toys from its King Junior Meals, saving the equivalent to 29 million plastic water bottles annually.

  • Burger King India has announced a 100% ban on single use plastics, and continues to use more environmentally friendly materials like bamboo for forks, spoons, and stirrers.

  • Burger King Korea and Burger King India have implemented a reusable cup system for in-store guests.

Green Buildings:

  • In Burger King US & EMEA, and Tim Hortons Canada and US, LED lighting in restaurants is already standard.
  • RBI’s Miami office is LEED Certified, and has added bike racks and electric car
  • chargers for employees.
  • RBI’s corporate offices have fully transitioned to use reusable cup systems and have removed all non-biodegradable packaging.

Responsible Sourcing:

  • Currently conducting a life-cycle assessment of 8 supply chain categories accounting for more than 80% of procurement spend, covering greenhouse gases, waste, water, and energy usage.
  • In the process of upgrading their quality assurance system to better address the impacts of sourcing, and in 2020 they will formalize the monitoring of suppliers’ deforestation and animal welfare policies, commitments, and independent certifications.
  • Proactively engaging with peers, experts and industry stakeholders including the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and its associated regional roundtables to advance beef sustainability.


Diversity & Inclusion:

  • RBI achieved a score of 100% in the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) 2020 Report, recognizing us as one of the best places to work for LGBTQ Equality.
  • Parent company RBI’s goal is to build a culture that attracts, develops, retains, and rewards diverse employees. They strive to create openness and belonging, and their Head Employee Experience helps find ways to create meaningful engagement with people, build belonging and ultimately empower the organization to reach its full potential by unlocking the power of human difference. RBI’s philosophy is about creating a positive ecosystem that is positioned to thrive.

Talent Development:

  • “We believe that we never stop growing”. They offer continuous learning opportunities for people throughout their career journey – on the job, professional development programs, upskilling, formal education and on-demand resources.
  • “Our wellness approach addresses the whole person. We have various offerings throughout the globe to help support our people.”
  • Parent company RBI’s learning and development team enables training and access to role-specific resources, and the People Business Partners work closely with managers across the business to provide opportunities for career growth to employees. The company also offers wellness programs, competitive benefits, and the talent intelligence team measures workforce engagement and satisfaction on a regular basis to ensure their people are motivated and enabled to do their best work.

Ethics & Human Rights:

  • The company remains committed to their Code of Business Ethics and Conduct for employees, as well as our Code of Business Ethics and Conduct for Vendors which addresses guidelines for working conditions, including wages, benefits, working hours in compliance with laws, no forced labour, no child labour, freedom of association, and a safe working Environment.”
  • Parent company RBI realizes that they have a key role to protect human rights, safe workplaces, and fair labour practises across their business. RBI remains committed to upholding their Code of Business Ethics and Conduct for its employees around the world, and its Code of Business Ethics and Conduct for Vendors globally.

Improving Supplier Livelihoods:

  • As of 2018, the Tim Hortons Coffee Partnership has worked with over 14,000 farmers to sustainably manage over 28,000 hectares of land in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras and strengthen over 200 producer organizations. In addition, over 3,000 youth in coffee-growing communities have gained exposure and skills training in a broad array of local career opportunities through the Generations program.
  • Parent company RBI is committed to supporting the success of the farmers who raise, grow and produce their quality ingredients by working with industry partners to research, share and scale best practices that increase productivity and efficiency while protecting land, livestock and livelihoods into the future.

Supporting Communities:

  • Since inception in 2005, Burger King McLamore Foundation supported nearly 800,000 children and families through education programs and employee emergency relief grants.
  • Since 2000, Burger King has provided $40 million USD in scholarships to over 36,000 deserving high school seniors and BK corporate and franchisee employees.
  • Parent company Restaurant Brands International is committed to strengthening and giving back to the communities it serves through its brand foundations and by supporting local programs and issues that are close to their guests’ hearts.


  • Parent company Restaurant Brands International’s Miami Office LEED certified

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance


  • Zero Hunger (TARGETS 2.1, 2.4) – Serving affordable, high-quality, great-tasting food every day while supporting sustainable food production systems.


  • Gender Equality (SDG TARGET 5.5) – Encouraging the leadership of women across their business and brands, and advancing women’s equality.


  • Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG TARGETS 8.1, 8.4, 8.5) – Contributing to the economic well-being of their colleagues, suppliers, and communities.

SDG 10

  • Reduced Inequalities (SDG TARGET 10.2) – Building inclusion through focused giving and involvement in the communities they serve.

SDG 12

  • Responsible Consumption and Production (TARGETS 12.2, 12.3, 12.5) – Responsibly managing natural resources in sourcing food and packaging while reducing and recycling waste.

SDG 13

  • Climate Action (SDG TARGET 13.3) – Measuring and reducing impact on climate change.

SDG 15

  • Life on Land (SDG TARGET 15.2) –  Protecting forests.

Secondary SDGs : 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14


Burger King, through their parent company, Restaurant Brands International, has tracked their progress on environmental damage reduction and identified steps towards better sustainability performance in terms of packaging, food safety, green buildings, etc.

The company has one LEED building certification, but nothing more. 

Though they have a decent amount of sustainable initiatives and alignment with SDGs, it has room for improvement, including  potential to obtain more certifications and awards.

The company is given an overall C rating.

Analyst Outlook: Neutral

Restaurant Brands International has seen significant progress towards their goals and demonstrated continuous improvement.

Key Points

  • Burger King is improving its cows’ low-carb diet by adding 100 grams of lemongrass to reduce methane emissions. The new diet plan will curtail methane emissions from cows by 33% per day, according to Burger King. Those emissions are one of the key contributors to climate change because the gas traps the sun’s heat and warms it. This demonstrates the fast food chain’s commitment to improving their existing processes.
  • The company sets specific targets, aligns comprehensively with UN SDGs and makes a decent attempt at sustainability 
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