Is Ronald McDonald Becoming a Tree Hugger?


Future, Germany-based portals to apple pies, milkshakes and fries. Image via: Spiegel.com

In Germany, perhaps. According to Spiegel.com, Deutschland Mickey D's plans to undergo a total image overhaul for 2010. This is all in an attempt to cater to the German public where many view the fast food joints as more fat- and litter-friendly than healthy, eco-friendly.

But will McDonald's new, Germanic design sensibilities demonstrate a true commitment to the environment or prove to be a side of super-sized greenwash?It depends on how you see it.

Greasy Glimmers of Greenwash

The press release reveals that while the iconic arches will keep their golden color, they'll be freshly set against a backdrop of green. As opposed to the ketchup-red signs, packaging and interiors found in the ubiquitous franchises elsewhere in the world. Does anyone else smell the marketing ploy through the thick cloud of deep fried mystery nuggets?

The 40 new restaurants set to open in 2010, along with 100 other pre-existing Germany-based locations, will stick to the company's new design philosophy which includes natural stone and wood facades. Holger Beeck, deputy head of McDonald's in Germany is quoted saying, "With the new appearance, we want to clarify our responsibility and relationship with natural resources."

Surely that wood façade wouldn't be made of tropical hardwood being slashed down in the same rainforest cultivating the cattle used for those burger patties--or would it?

McDonald's Germany a Responsible Role Model?

Then again, maybe there's some hope behind all the hamburgers. In April of 2008, McDonald's Germany--recognized for its design-savvy--opened up its first low-impact restaurant featuring energy-efficient appliances. Today, a new pilot project is currently in production that will open up the first McCafe's that offer alternatives sans burger and fries.

With more than 2.5 million people munching daily at McDonald's in Germany, and serving nearly 47 million customers around the globe--it doesn't look like anyone is willing to sacrifice their Big Macs, apple pies and milkshakes just yet.

Until then, let's hope the German-subsidiary of the US giant paves the green way--more than with just a splash of green color.

::LOHAS via Spiegel.com
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Tags: Germany | Green Building | Greenwashing