The carbon footprint of beef, including the emissions from growing feed for cows, along with cow belches, energy use, and deforestation of land for grazing, is so massive that some researchers have made the case for a tax on the meat as a way to meet climate goals.

So when McDonald’s–one of the world’s largest purchasers of beef–announced that it plans to begin reducing its greenhouse gas emissions at the rate that climate science says is necessary to have a chance of avoiding catastrophic global warming, it wasn’t a minor goal.

By 2030, the company plans to work with suppliers and franchisees to cut emissions 36% compared to 2015, even as the chain grows.

The Science-Based Targets Initiative, a group led by experts from environmental nonprofits and the UN Global Compact, did the math to figure out how the company’s current emissions fit into the global carbon budget, and how much McDonald’s would have to cut to be consistent with the science of what researchers believe is likely to keep the average global temperature from rising more than two degrees.

In the past, too, companies have sometimes been slow to make progress on the goals that they set. But McDonald’s has clearly mapped out how it can implement the plan, says Sheila Bonini, senior vice president of private sector engagement for WWF, which is working with the restaurant chain on strategy.

McDonald’s was already beginning to work on reducing emissions across its business, but now will go further, focusing on beef production, energy use at restaurants, packaging, and waste, using a variety of approaches.

Read the full article about McDonald's plans to decrease their carbon footprint by Adele Peters at Fast Company.