Pension savers far from loving it after McDonald’s rejects antibiotics resolution

Ffion White

by , PR Manager

29 May 2024 /  

May 2024

Cattle in a green field

The majority of shareholders at fast-food giant McDonald’s voted against a crucial shareholder resolution aimed at curbing the excessive use of antibiotics in its industrial meat production despite significant concerns raised by pension savers and the urgent need to address the risks associated with antibiotic resistance in global public health.

According to a recent survey conducted by PensionBee nearly three quarters (74%)1 of respondents – equal to approximately 23.6 million pensions savers2 – expressed their support for the resolution.

The shareholder resolution aimed to compel McDonald’s to take the risks associated with antibiotic resistance more seriously and to reduce the use of antibiotics in its meat production. However, despite gaining traction and receiving 15% of the vote, the resolution ultimately did not pass.

McDonald’s Corporation stands as the largest purchaser of beef and pork globally, and its extensive use of antibiotics in industrial meat production poses a significant threat to public health. The overuse of antibiotics is suggested to be a contributing factor leading to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, jeopardising the effectiveness of these vital drugs in treating infections.

This is not the first time such a resolution has been proposed at McDonald’s annual general meeting (AGM). Despite the disappointment of the outcome, there is cause for optimism in the trend of voting. Last year, 17% of votes were in favour compared to 15% this year.

Despite the slight negative trajectory in support for this proposal, PensionBee voting data shows that savers increasingly desire sustainable and responsible practices within corporations. They also believe that challenging management is essential for shareholder democracy.

Clare Reilly, Chief Engagement Officer at PensionBee, commented: “The outcome of this shareholder resolution will come as a disappointment for pension savers. Our research suggests overwhelming support from nearly three quarters of pension savers which underscores the urgent need for corporations to take responsibility for their impact on public health and the environment.

“Although the trend of voting from last year shows positive movement, more work is needed - and fast - for these benefits to truly come to fruition.”


1. The survey results are based on the responses of 1,000 UK residents – aged 18-66 – who either are currently contributing to a pension or have a pension that they are not currently contributing to (not including the State Pension). The survey was run in April 2024.

2. Based on ONS data stating around 31.9 million private pension savers.

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