Baraka Blog

Growing thoughts

Multinationals and CSR in the MENA region – Part 1

In 1990, McDonald’s stopped using styrofoam packaging in the US due to public pressure, and used this fact to their benefit in highlighting their social responsibility practices on their website today. 19 years later, McDonald’s still use the non-recyclable material across the MENA region for its packaging.  The material in question is styrofoam, made from polystyrene a matter that is not recycled in most U.S. cities, and I suspect isn’t in the MENA region.  Polystyrene takes 900 years to break down in a landfill.  1


The official statement on the McDonald’s website is ” Today, approximately 82% of the consumer packaging used in our nine largest markets is made from renewable materials(paper or wood-fiber), and approximately 30% of the material comes from recycled fiber.”

Social responsibility for Multinationals must be a global initiative.  When a multinational reaps financial benefit from operating in a foreign country, small as the returns maybe, the company implicitly accepts the country and its consumers into its larger stakeholders community. Hence the multinational must be held accountable for in social responsibility initiatives across all regions of operation, large or small.   We all share the same land, water and air sources. Pollution in one part of the world invariably affects other parts.  It is not enough that McDonald’s uses environmentally friendly packaging in its larger markets.

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