McEthics in Europe and Asia: should McDonald’s extend its response to ethical criticism in Europe? Introduction The “McEthics” case describes how Mc Donald’s, the fast food industrys market leader, faces charges concerning growing health problems in Europe and Asia. 1) Set out the main criticisms that have been leveled at Mc Donald’s in Europe. To what extent are these criticisms likely to be replicated in Asia? What differences can be predicted? There are four main areas of critique that have been leveled at Mc Donald’s in Europe.
First, the products are said to be fat and unhealthy, which fosters health problems, especially obesity and diabetes. Secondly, the labor conditions are heavily criticized. Mc Donald’s has been accused of paying too little wages and being ‘strongly antipathetic’ to unions. Harsh criticism also arose concerning the companies advertising. These accusations are based on the belief that Mc Donald’s ‘exploits children’ and uses false advertisement of its food as nutritious’. The last point of criticism is the firms ‘culpable responsibility for animal cruelty.
Additionally, in France a whole wave of an anti-American sentiment aggravates the negative image of Mc Donald’s. In Asia the main point of criticism that is replicated is health issues. The fat foods and emerging fast food culture is especially dangerous to children’s health. In Europe traditions of protests and rebellions may help people change and the treedom ot speech. Moreover, governments nave a great interest in a healthy population because offering an expensive welfare and health care system.
From our point of view these factors have led to a strong resistance against Mc Donald’s which would never emerge in Asia in such an extent. ) Describe and evaluate the tactics used by McDonald’s in responding to their critics in Europe? Will these work to the same degree in Asia? According to the case, Mc Donald’s quickly reacted to criticism in Europe and started various campaigns in order to improve its image. For instance, they developed a healthier menu, introducing salads and fruit packages or launched sport initiatives and awareness campaigns.
By contrast, in Asia Mc Donald’s is reacting very slowly, not answering to the peoples concern. One possible explanation for Mc Donald’s actions in Europe could be that European governments started taxing the fast food industry. In the meantime, Asian governments seem to show now interest in such measures. This observation is also a strong indicator that Mc Donald’s campaigns in Europe are not truly altruistic. It rather seems that Mc Donald’s is merely after profit and stakeholders satisfaction rather than providing healthy food. ) Should Mc Donald’s offer healthy alternatives to the same extent in all the countries in which it operates, or Just those where it has been criticized in the past, or is it expecting further regulation? What if customers overseas do not want healthy options? Mc Donald’s should offer healthy alternatives in every country as ong as customers accept and buy them. If customers do not want healthy options, Mc Donald’s should offer other alternatives such like sport programs or simple information packages. Scientific research clearly proofs that fast food, consumed on a regular basis, is extremely unhealthy.
Mc Donald’s could be said to have an ethical responsibility to educate its customers about fast food and healthy alternatives. 4) How could Mc Donald’s seek to avoid further criticism in the future? Can the company realistically present itself as an ethical corporation? Only if Mc Donald’s operated as truly altruistic company, benefitting the community, could they avoid further criticism. As of now, Mc Donald’s is only known to be vastly successful in the economic perspective of the triple bottom line. Mc Donald’s is also committed to social and environmental perspectives.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities for example provide healthcare etc. to children in need. Furthermore Mc Donald’s 2009 Corporate Responsibility Report clearly states how Mc Donald’s tackles the environmental issues and provides examples of Mc Donald’s sustainable supply chain. However this is not what comes to mind when we think about this fast food chain. The solution to Mc Donald’s problem is already in place. The catch is however that no one knows about the corporations’ environmental and social efforts.
Through proper marketing strategies Mc Donald’s could earn a much better reputation with very little effort. 5) How sustainable is the fast food industry from the point of the triple bottom line? The triple bottom line combines the three factors of environmental, economic and social sustainability. The economic sustainability in the fast food sector has been proven in the past by Mc Donald’s balance sheets. Concerning the environmental angle, one can argue that there is room for mprovement. For instance in Austria Mc Donald’s is starting to use local products and has sorted rubbish for several years.
There are programs in place to aid Farmers become more sustainable, bringing Mc Donald’s supply chain to a high standard of environmental responsibili Concerning social sustainability, the tast t industry is lacking vision. They are providing healthcare to people in need but why not tackle the cause of these children’s health problems? If the fast food industry could find a successful shift to truly healthy fast food, social sustainability could prove to be a contributing factor to the fast food industries profits.
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