“We say no to good ideas every day.”
-Tim Cook 

A few weeks ago, I penned an open letter to Burger King on LinkedIn, in response to the burger chain’s recent #CowsMenu advertising campaign, which aimed to bring attention to their efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of the beef they serve. I actually commended Burger King because it’s not often an American fast food chain takes a stand when it comes to a major environmental issue.

I suspected that the Burger King team’s heart was in the right place, even though the campaign itself failed to tell the whole story of the many ways the agriculture industry takes initiative to make consistent improvements on the environmental footprint of its products — flashy ad campaigns aside. As our friend the Farm Babe puts it, “farmers care greatly about the planet, sustainability is always in the forefront of our minds, and farmers work hard to do more with less, mitigate methane, and reduce our carbon footprint, all day, every day.”

Burger King Visit

So I was thrilled when Burger King reached out to Farm Babe and our team to take us up on our offer to learn more about Brightmark’s role in sustainable agriculture: our anaerobic digestion projects for dairy cow farms. As part of his visit to the Farm Babe’s farm, Burger King Chief Marketing Officer Fernando Machado visited our Demeter project outside of Madison, Wisconsin, which converts the methane from 90,000 gallons of cow manure into renewable natural gas (RNG) each and every day.

Our state-of-the-art process captures and cleans the methane gas in this manure that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere, allowing it to be reused as renewable natural gas to heat and power our homes. The environmental impact of this technology is massive: research shows that when all climate benefits are considered together, RNG from cow manure can reduce GHG emissions 400% when it is used to replace traditional vehicle fuels. Not to mention, the process of recovering and processing the manure for the Demeter project also prevents nitrogen and phosphorus from escaping into local air and water, reducing phosphorus runoff alone by 60%.

All in all, it was great to connect with Burger King and meet Fernando. The day was one of learning and collaboration, and I really appreciated his sincere interest and curiosity about how ideas like anaerobic digestion make agriculture more sustainable each and every day. Collaboration, optimism, and innovation light our path forward toward a healthy, livable planet for everyone – and that’s something we can all agree on.

Bob Powell
Founder and CEO