McDonald’s quietly removed the term “ESG” from some parts of its website at a time when environmental, social and governance initiatives have been attracting criticism from some conservative policymakers in the US.
The fast-food chain’s “Purpose & Impact” website recently removed several mentions of ESG, according to an analysis by Bloomberg News. One web page that was titled “ESG Approach & Progress” is now labeled “Our Approach & Progress.” Most of the other text remains similar.
Another web page, previously titled “Performance & ESG Reporting,” now shows up as “Goal Performance & Reporting.” In some instances, McDonald’s subbed the phrase “environmental and social issues” for the ESG abbreviation.
McDonald’s declined to comment on the changes but affirmed its commitment to reporting annually on its progress on social and environmental goals. The chain released one such update earlier this month.
US companies have faced a backlash against ESG-related shareholder proposals affecting issues like workers’ rights and diversity, which some conservative politicians and policymakers have labeled as “woke capitalism.” The US Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action in college admissions has also sparked fierce debate, with corporations now questioning whether they should publicize diversity efforts.
McDonald’s engages with key stakeholder groups on environmental and social issues where it can have the greatest impact “against the backdrop of a continually changing external landscape,” according to the company’s website.