McDonald's has launched Farm Forward, a three-part program aimed at supporting British and Irish farmers, as it aims to increase the sustainability of its supply chain.
The initiative includes a training program for young farmers; provision of a "carbon calculator" to existing farmers; and funding for research and innovation in the British and Irish agriculture sectors. The fast food chain is to pump £1 million ($1.5 million) into the program in its first year, The Grocer reports.
The carbon calculator aims to help farmers measure carbon impacts from their working practices, and understand how to change them in order to approve efficiency, reports The Guardian.
McDonald's is also partnering with Harper Adams University College, the University of Reading and Newcastle University to fund one-year courses in which students spend time at farms and factories that supply the chain, as well as at McDonald's franchises.
Brian Mullens, senior vice president of supply chain at McDonald's UK arm, hopes the program will be a "call to arms" and spark similar initiatives by other food retailers, The Grocer reports.
Last week McDonald's announced that it will serve chicken exclusively from UK farmers at this year's London Olympics, following pressure from farming and environmental groups.
McDonald's expects to serve more than 30,000 metric tons of chicken at the 2012 games and had been planning to source the meat from farms as far away as Brazil, as well as UK farms.