In response to shareholder concerns, McDonald’s Corporation -- the largest potato buyer in the U.S. -- has agreed to survey its American supply chain and promote best practices for reducing the use of pesticides on spuds.

The move, announced yesterday, was prompted by a shareholder resolution filed by the Bard College Endowment, Newground Social Investment and the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund. The shareholder resolution on environmental and worker health issues was the first of its kind to be filed by a college or university endowment.

The resolution was withdrawn following McDonald’s agreement to survey its potato suppliers in the U.S., compile best practices in pesticide reduction, recommend them to the firm’s global suppliers via the McDonald’s Global Potato Board, report best practices findings to the shareholders and include those findings in the company’s annual corporate social responsibility report.

The Investor Environmental Health Network provided key support in development of the agreement that was the product of collaboration between shareholders and McDonald’s.

Richard Liroff, executive director of the Investor Environmental Health Network and a guest columnist for GreenBiz.com, said in a statement, “Leadership companies such as Sysco (which supplies Wendy’s), General Mills, and Campbell’s have already demonstrated that pesticide use reduction makes sense from both an environmental health and business perspective. We welcome McDonald’s stepping up to the plate and look forward to supporting the company’s efforts to reduce pesticide use in the future.”

In another supply chain development involving a global firm, coffee certification program Utz Certified Good Inside said yesterday that it will honor the IKEA Group for being the first retailer in the U.S. to offer 100 percent traceable coffee. Recognition of the firm will be made at the Specialty Coffee Association of America conference from April 16 to 19 in Georgia.

Image — CC licensed by Flickr user AlastairMoore.