The world sustainability leader in the fast food
industry Max Burgers share their story
at Planet Under Pressure
One may ask how it is possible to open a chain of Burger restaurants that outperforms the international fast food giants. Max Burgers not only made McDonald’s close down restaurants in the northern towns of Sweden but they also try to seed a revolution for a sustainable fast food industry. Max Burgers are the first chain of restaurants in the world to provide carbon labeling for all its meals and fully offset the environmental impact of its operation by planting trees in Africa. The Max reforestation program is the largest in the entire Plan-Vivo certification system. The goal is to make the whole operation fossil fuel-free and to become a fully sustainable enterprise in a sustainable society. They can however, not reach their goal without help from their industry colleagues.
Max, founded in 1968, is Sweden’s first hamburger chain. The family-owned chain is a market-leader and a pioneer in low-fat products. The company’s success is also due to its ability to offer freedom of choice and food cooked to order. Both the beef and chicken used are produced locally. The company was also the first restaurant chain in the world to provide carbon labelling for its meals and fully offset the environmental impact of its operation by planting trees in Africa. The goal is to make the whole operation fossil fuel-free. In 2011, Max’s sales totalled SEK 1,475 million. In 2010, Max entered their first international market, Norway. To date Max have 88 restaurants in Sweden and two in Norway.
participates in two sessions:1. Monday 26th, Pär Larshans, Chief Sustainability Officer at Max Burgers, will provide a thought-provoking and inspiring presentation on how to strategically move towards sustainability, during the Bridges to the Future session.
(At 2 pm, Room 14)
2. Wednesday 28th, Max Burgers host an exclusive breakfast roundtable discussion on global food security together with Forum For the Future, Stockholm Environment Institute and The Natural Step.
– We need much more action from the food industry and we want to support a progressive agenda in Rio +20. That’s why we are here. At this conference we want to learn and to inspire, but more importantly, we want to find sustainability leaders from other parts of the planet, with whom we can form strategic alliances for global food security, says Pär Larshans, Chief Sustainability Officer at Max Burgers.
Starting in May 2008, Max has labeled all products with their respective climate impact – allowing and empowering their guests to take the climate impact into consideration when placing their orders. Since 2008, Max has made carbon offsets for its total climate impact – from the farmers land to the guest’s hand.
– This initiative offers power to our customers as it gives them the opportunity to choose meals not only from taste or health but also from climate impact. And by carbon offsetting through tree plantation, we will constantly be reminded of the costs of our carbon footprints and thus continue to work towards zero climate impact, says Pär Larshans, Chief Sustainability Officer at Max Burgers.
Apart from putting climate on the menu Max have also taken other concrete measures to become environmentally and socially sustainable, such as:
- All restaurants are powered by 100% wind energy.
- All frying oil used is converted into biodiesel.
- Since 2005, Max products have been recognised as the healthiest in the industry.
- No to GMOs and trans fats.
- All fish is sourced from responsibly managed fisheries (MSC-certified).
- All restaurants have more than two staff members with a disability.
- An extensive internal leadership program which includes sections on sustainability and diversity.
- Partnerships with research and industry to promote sustainable beef production and science based methods for social sustainability.
- Significantly increased recycling rates.
- Removed unnecessary packaging as well as all toys for kids requiring batteries.
- Introduction of organic coffee and milk.
- Sustainability has proven to be one of Max’s most profitable initiatives ever. It has, in fact, proven to be more profitable than opening up new restaurants.
- Approx. 3 000 employees
- 88 restaurants in Sweden, all owned by the founding family
- Most satisfied customers in the business, nine years in a row
- Most preferred hamburgers in Sweden
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