May 22, 2024

Statement: McDonald’s shareholders’ meeting 2024

This statement was delivered during the McDonald’s annual shareholders’ meeting on May 22, 2024 by a representative of Corporate Accountability. 

Thank you for this opportunity to introduce Proposal 11 on Global Political Transparency on behalf of Harrington Investments. I am representing Corporate Accountability.

In prior years, this resolution has brought critical attention to investors’ lack of visibility into the corporation’s global political activities. In 2023, despite nearly 60 percent of its annual revenues coming from outside the U.S., the corporation continues to disclose less about its global activities than it does in the U.S. and other Global North regions. What limited view we do have of these activities–whether the company’s recent efforts to slow progress on EU actions to reduce plastic waste to donating more than $500,000 to congressional candidates in Brazil years ago–should tell investors all they need to know about why McDonald’s must become transparent about these global activities.

This year, executives argue that, while profiting richly from its franchisee structure, the corporation does not support our request for the full disclosure of political activities globally. But these political activities have negative consequences for the brand and shareholder investment in it. Nowhere is this more stark than the recent case of a McDonald’s franchise allegedly providing free meals to the Israeli military as they bombed and decimated hospitals, schools, mosques and churches throughout Gaza… and then weaponized access to food and water against displaced Palestinians who are working together daily to survive a genocide. After this, a Malaysian franchise then attempted to legally challenge the local Palestine solidarity group that alleged the company’s complicity “with Israeli atrocities towards Palestinians.”

If an entity bearing the McDonald’s name such as a franchise must be held to certain standards for food consistency and presentation…then I trust this corporation can also hold it accountable to basic standards for political disclosure and transparency. I urge you to vote yes on Proposal 11. Thank you.

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