World Changing Ideas

Fast Company names the McDonald’s Global Flagship at Walt Disney World a 2021 World Changing Idea finalist.

“Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards have honored the businesses and organizations driving change in the world. This year, the entries reflect a range of exceptional work helping to fight the pandemic and to support people during the crisis—and the necessity of rethinking how society emerges from the past year better than before. We received more than 3,000 entries, an all-time record. The 34 winners and hundreds of other finalists—selected by Fast Company’s editors and reporters—represent the kind of innovative thinking that will help us channel the optimism and hope of this moment into a better future.”

The McDonald’s Global Flagship at Walt Disney World aims to become the world’s first Net Zero Energy fast food restaurant and in doing so represents McDonald’s commitment to building a better future. Operating 37,000 restaurants in over 100 countries, McDonald’s serves 69 million people each day (pre-pandemic). This singular project is an ambitious first step in addressing the climate crisis through expressive architecture and forward-looking technology. Through data analysis, commissioning, and operational feedback, the building will serve as a learning lab for scalable solutions that work towards achieving a corporate commitment to prevent 150 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents from being released into the atmosphere by 2030.

No one building or building type will solve the climate crisis. Fast food restaurants are dependent on an automobile-centric culture that is not likely to change for the foreseeable future. In the past few years McDonald’s has explored how to evolve this often overlooked building type in climate conversations as a design and environmental storyteller. The flagships in Chicago and Disney (both designed by Ross Barney Architects) may seem contradictory at first glance but represent significant thought, strategy, and investment in testing scalable technologies.

The McDonald’s Disney Flagship is a sustainable steward; revolutionizing an industry to be more thoughtful, strategic, and impactful.

Congratulations to the project team!