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Planetary Health, Human Health and Brand Health

Bob Langert

Bob Langert, Former CSO of McDonald's; Green Biz Editor-At-Large and Author

A Behind-the-Scenes Account of McDonald's Sustainability Journey: An Interview with Bob Langert

Starting in the 1980s, McDonald’s was repeatedly challenged on hot-button social and environmental issues by powerful NGOs. It spent over a decade in defensive mode, as groups like Greenpeace and PETA demanded that the company rethink its approach to issues like packaging, animal welfare, deforestation, and nutrition. 

Eventually, though, the mega brand shifted to strategically solving issues with NGO partners. As it integrated sustainability into its core mission, it began to rebuild brand health with consumers.

Former McDonald’s VP of Sustainability Bob Langert recounts the company’s sustainability journey in his new book, The Battle to Do Good. It’s an insider’s view of the company’s highs and lows, as well as a guide to making business stronger and more relevant.

Bard MBA alum Ben Volk spoke with Langert about the company’s toughest challenges, how McDonald’s made the shift to integrating sustainability, and where it can continue to lead by example.

The BardMBA in Sustainability fully integrates sustainability into a core business curriculum.