Corporate social responsibility in McDonald’s Australia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Asian Case Research Journal


World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte Ltd


School of Business and Law




Lee, A., & Lambert, C. (2017). Corporate social responsibility in McDonald's Australia. Asian Case Research Journal, 21(2), 393-430.


This case focuses on marketing public policy and legislation issues in the business environment. The Commonwealth Government of Australia wants to impose mandatory warning labels for fast-food served by quick-service chainrestaurants like McDonald’s. These warnings are to appear on fast-food packaging to warn diners of the possible harms arising from consuming fast-food. This is similar to the warnings that are used in Australia on tobacco product packages.

This highlights a turning point where legislators appear to be heeding calls of vocal pressure groups to curb and legislate the industry’s activities. The loudest calls have appeared in well-publicized legal cases and film documentaries like Super-Size Me.

McDonald’s has been well-aware of these challenges. The company continues to respond and fight legal challenges on these points. As a result, the company has improved its supply chain, employees’ work-conditions, their treatment of animals, their stores, food and customer service to offer leaner, healthier and more upmarket products.

The few vocal critics who have secured media coverage seem to rely on sensationalizing the issue — e.g., eating McDonald’s for 30 days makes you fat. They seem to ignore the results from other experiments where people who ate suitable portions of McDonald’s food for the same 30 day period actually lost weight.

Other challenges that have been found to be lies in courts of law include allegations of animal cruelty, unsafe food and food that makes people obese. Yet the public continue to believe these allegations. Can the industry do more, or do something different, to change people’s minds?



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