The Task

Restaurant Brands International Inc. (RBI) is one of the world’s largest quick service restaurant companies, with more than $35 billion in annual system-wide sales and over 29,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. RBI owns four  well-known brands – Burger King, Tim Hortons, Popeyes and Firehouse Subs.

In 2020, RBI set out their sustainability framework ‘Restaurant Brands for Good’, which includes commitments on material topics, such as: animal welfare, climate action and resource efficiency, in response to growing demands from customers, civil society stakeholders and investors. RBI recognised the centrality of responsible sourcing in achieving these goals, and wanted to make sure their processes were fit for purpose. Setting clear priorities and understanding the capacity of the supply chain to act were key focuses for RBI.

The Action

Action Sustainability have been working with RBI on a long-term basis to embed sustainability into sourcing strategies and practices. We began by building up a picture of the sustainability expectations and capabilities of RBI’s stakeholders, as well as evaluating existing procurement capabilities against the ISO 20400 standard.

From this baseline we then developed a sustainable procurement strategy as a single point of focus to deliver supply chain sustainability consistently, aligned with RBI’s existing policies and informed by peer benchmarking and internal workshops.

Now the strategy is in place, we are focusing on its implementation through several key categories of spend: beef, fries, dairy, poultry and baked goods. Procurement frameworks are being developed for each, detailing RBI’s expectations from suppliers by several sustainability impact areas across environment, social and economic. Within each impact area, there are tiered maturity levels, meaning that suppliers can be tracked and awarded a bronze-silver-gold rating. This will help set a common, clear approach with opportunity for continual improvement.

During the development process, Action Sustainability consulted key stakeholders including the procurement and sustainability teams and priority suppliers at key points, responding to requirements and integrating other policies which were being developed in parallel. To support application of these policies, we are also developing e-learning around sustainability topics to upskill colleagues across the business.

The Outcome, Benefits, and Lessons Learnt

The procurement frameworks have been adapted into questionnaires, and are being rolled out to processors. The responses to these questionnaires will give RBI a much clearer view of the sustainability-related measures that are already being executed across its vast supply chain. Through gaining more transparency on these, RBI will be able to measure progress more accurately, identify opportunities for improvement, and share best-practice across the network.