Climate Joy Week #26: McDonald’s to Launch Plant-Based Beyond Meat Burger, Major Cruise Line Ditches Single-Use Plastic Bottles

Climate Joy Week #26: McDonald’s to Launch Plant-Based Beyond Meat Burger, Major Cruise Line Ditches Single-Use Plastic Bottles

Welcome to this week’s edition of Climate Joy. As per our tradition in this series, we bring to you another lineup of positive climate news from around the world, focussing on companies making strides towards sustainability. The United Nations Climate Summit was also held last week and rather than explore in this series, we will examine the outcomes from this powerful assembly in a later article.

Anyway, here’s what we’re celebrating this week:

1. McDonald’s to Launch New Plant-Based Burger

McDonald’s will be selling meatless burgers soon. The world’s biggest fast food chain announced last week that it would be testing the sale of its PLT, or the plant, lettuce and tomato burger. The plant based burger will feature the popular plant-based patty from Beyond Meat, and will be rolled out across 28 restaurants in Ontario and will be sold for 12 weeks starting the end of the month.

This move does not come as a surprise since competition in the fast food industry to meet growing animal meat-free appetites is intensifying. The company’s rival Burger King began rolling out their plant-based Impossible Foods burger across 7,000 US locations last month.

“Why just a small test? We’re in learning mode, so testing is a major part of how we develop our menu,” wrote Ann Wahlgren, McDonald’s Vice President of global menu strategy. “It’s how we look – before we leap.” Going by the response that Burger King received, McDonald’s is definitely going to be leaping in for good –and setting up a showdown with Burger King while it’s at it.

2. Swedish Newspaper to Stop Running Fossil Fuels Advertisements

The Swedish newspaper Dagens ETC has announced it will stop taking advertising that promotes fossil fuel-based goods and services with immediate effect. The ETC, which launched in 2014, is a daily paper and online news publication. Its editor-in-chief, Andreas Gustavsson, said the decision was taken by the owner, the board, the marketing department and the 25 editors and reporters on its staff.

He said the decision would hit the paper’s finances but will prove to be the best decision in the long term. The editor also relayed that the decision was “crucial for our credibility” and urged other media outlets to consider doing the same.

Spell advert July

He added: “How far can journalism go when it is bankrolled by forces that have everything to gain from blocking large-scale action to address our climate crisis?”

In May, the activist group Extinction Rebellion wrote an open letter to advertisers and agencies urging them to use their powers to tackle the climate emergency, leading to the birth of the Creatives for Climate movement with individuals and organisations pledging to avoid working on fossil fuel briefs. Well, Dagens ETC seems to have responded and for this we say bravo!

3. The US Gets First Fully Electric “Gas” Station

America’s first fully converted gas-to-electric refueling station has opened in Maryland. The refueling station has a high-powered 200 kilowatt, four dispenser system. This allows four electric vehicles to charge simultaneously within 20 to 30 minutes.

Depeswar Doley, the station owner, confesses that the idea actually came from his high school daughter. His daughter convinced him to embark on this venture by explaining to him all the adverse effects of climate change after a state official called him about the offer. A grant of $786,000 provided by the Electric Vehicle Institute and Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) helped make the conversion possible.

Nissan LEAF, One of the Cheapest Electric Vehicles, Heads to Australia
Nissan LEAF one of the most affordable electric vehicles on the market.

There are 20,700 registered electric vehicles in Maryland. This refueling station is expected to further help the mainstreaming of EVs. “It’s good for the environment,” Doley tells CNN. “I know this is a good cause, and this is something new. What I’m doing, maybe it will encourage other businesses owners and encourage the electric car business.”

4. Norwegian Cruise Line Ditches Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles

The Norwegian Cruise Line (‘Norwegian’ for short) is the world’s third largest cruise line, and the company announced recently that it will be ditching single-use plastic water bottles, intending to remove every single-use plastic water bottle from its ships by January 1, 2020. In replacement, the company said it will be stocking JUST water, the paper box water business co-founded by Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. JUST water cartons contain 82% renewable materials and is paper-based, with other parts of the packaging such as the cap made from sugarcane-based plastic. The cartons are refillable and being promoted as recyclable. This news comes after the cruise line ditched plastic straws last year.

Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line.

“While we are aware that this is just the beginning of what we and others need to do to be good stewards of our environment, we are committed to our Sail & Sustain initiatives and will continue to innovate for the overall benefit of the planet and its future,” Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, said in a news release.

Norwegian is yet another big company taking action to eliminate plastic, joining other travel-focussed businesses including hotel chain, Marriott International.

And that brings us to the end of this edition of our Climate Joy series. See you back here next week for more positive news, but until then, don’t forget to spread the good vibes and share this post!

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Feature image of McDonald’s plant-based burger, PLT.

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