Posted on November 29, 2021

McDonald’s Urged to Assess Civil-Rights Impact in Race Audit

Leslie Patton, Bloomberg, November 22, 2021

An adviser to union pension funds is calling on McDonald’s Corp. to analyze how its policies are contributing to social and economic inequality.

The restaurant chain should oversee a third-party audit that takes input from franchisees, corporate employees, suppliers and customers, SOC Investment Group recommends in a shareholder proposal sent Monday to McDonald’s board. While McDonald’s already reports diversity data for corporate staff and company-owned stores, that excludes an estimated 660,000 U.S. franchise workers, making it unclear how the company is addressing racial inequality, according to the proposal, which was seen by Bloomberg News.

“A civil-rights audit will help McDonald’s identify, remedy and avoid adverse impacts on its stakeholders,” SOC said. The firm, formerly known as CtW Investment Group, works with union-sponsored pension funds that hold about 2.5 million McDonald’s shares.

In a statement, McDonald’s said that its “focus will remain on continued action to accelerate meaningful and overdue societal change.” The company also said that it already holds its leaders accountable for maintaining equal pay for women and minorities, and for ramping up investments in diverse-owned suppliers.


McDonald’s has said it will increase minority representation in its U.S. leadership roles to 35% by the end of 2025 from 29.1% last year, and this year it tied some executive pay to diversity targets. It’s also revamping its domestic supply chain, shifting more spending to women and minorities. This goal includes spending by franchisees, who own and operate about 93% of restaurants globally.

The Chicago-based company meets or exceeds the makeup of the U.S. population in representation of Black, Hispanic and Asian workers at the management level, and for Black and Asian workers in professional categories, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the company’s filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. {snip}