Greenpeace Against Gen-Food

Help Greenpeace to convince McDonalds to refrain from using genetically modified animal food! €9,000 prize pool

Help Greenpeace to convince McDonalds to refrain from using genetically modified animal food!



Greenpeace campaigns for sustainable, ecological agriculture without genetic enginneering and the use of toxic chemicals. For almost 20 years the environmental protection organization has been drawing attention to the risky cultivation of genetically modified plants in its campaigns. The majority of globally cultivated genetically modified (GM) plants like  GMsoya and GM corn ends up in feed for cows, chickens and pigs.

Genetically-manipulated animal feed

The cultivation of genetically modified plants like GM-soya has massive ecological repercussions: GM-soya have been genetically modified to make it resistant to the controversial herbicide glyphosate. On the GM-soya fields all plant life is destroyed, only the genetically-manipulated plants survive the massive use of pesticides. The repercussions on the eco-system are huge. Animals, such as birds or bees, find less food or are damaged directly by the pesticides. Numerous toxic effects on soil and water organisms are already known, and there is increasing evidence of the danger to mammals – as well as to human beings. Increasing numbers of studies link agricultural toxins containing glyphosate to long-term and chronic health damage, such as disorders of the endocrine system or mutagenic properties. Extensive use of the same agricultural chemicals also makes weeds increasingly resistant. Resistances against glyphosate develop particularly fast and can meanwhile be observed in most types of weed. The result: increasingly stronger pesticides have to be used on the fields to get rid of the weeds. Inhabitants of the cultivation regions, such as South America, are usually completely unprotected and exposed to the chemicals sprayed from airplanes.

Situation in Germany

Following a big Greenpeace campaign in 2000 McDonald’s was one of the first companies to stop using chicken meat that has been produced with genetically-modified animal feed. The big poultry farmers followed suit and finally German retailers also announced that they would forgo the use of genetically-modified soya in its production of chicken meat. But this year McDonald’s Germany took a U-turn, deciding it is cheaper to use GM soya for feeding the animals. So protecting the environment became too expensive for McDonald’s. In the production of chicken meat the fast-food chain is once again feeding the animals with genetically-modified soya, and things don’t look any better in beef and pork production either. The consumer is often left unaware because the fact that genetically-modified feed has been used to feed the animals does not have to be shown on the labels of the milkshakes, eggs, burgers and chicken nuggets.


Greenpeace wants to convince McDonald's, as Germany’s biggest fast-food chain, to take the bold step and permanently improve its production standards for meat and particularly chicken. The production of cheap meat is jointly responsible for the biggest environmental problems of our time, such as climate change, deforestation, extinction and the pollution of the air, soil and water as a result of the risky cultivation of genetically-modified plants. Foregoing the use of genetic engineering would be a first important step and a relatively simple step towards sustainable meat production. 

The aim of the campaign is to attract attention to the problem of genetically-modified animal feed via digital and analog channels and to thereby increase the pressure on McDonald’s, in order to encourage the fast-food giant to forgo the use of genetically-modified animal feed in poultry farming once again. 

Although Greenpeace remains realistic: “Asking McDonald’s not to sell any more meat would be like forbidding VW to produce cars. But McDonald’s needs to do things better. Simply painting the company logo green isn’t enough. Instead of focusing on cheap mass goods, it’s time for the quality to take center stage. And this begins on the field, by using less pesticides and fertilizers and no genetic engineering in the production of feed. As the world’s biggest fast-food chain McDonald’s can boldly act as a role model and show others how to be more ecological.” (Quote from Greenpeace).

The Jury

Stay tuned to find out the jury members which will be announced October 1st!

Task Definition

Based on the topic of McDonald’s and its use of chicken meat produced with genetically-modified animal feed (e.g. in chicken burgers and chicken nuggets), come up with an intelligent, critical and emotionally moving campaign visual incl. slogan.

Target Group

Everyone who worries about nature and the future of our planet (pragmatists, experimentalists/hedonists and social ecologists).

But – and in particular – also the customers of the big fast-food chains (especially young people, but also families).


  • simple
  • provocative
  • bold
  • funny

Mandatory requirements

Please ensure you pay attention to the following requirements:

If the McDonald’s logo or McDonald’s products are used, in every case the following additional line must be added to the footer: “*produced with genetically-modified animal feed” or “*produced with genetically-modified (animal) feed”.

The topic of genetically-modified feed/GM soya in animal feed etc. is not easy to communicate, also from a legal perspective. There may not be any visuals showing the animals (chicken, cow, pig) being genetically modified. The animals are not genetically modified and nor do they start mutating if they eat the genetically-modified animal feed. The meat of these animals is not genetically modified either. 

The direct repercussions of genetically-modified plants on the health of humans and animals are not yet known. Your images should not insinuate a health hazard etc. A person who eats meat from an animal that has been fed with genetically-modified feed will not start growing horns. The ecological impact, on the other hand, can be clearly depicted.

Other problems regarding the production of cheap meat may be communicated, but are not the main focus. 

There is no guideline as to whether you depict the content with photographic or purely graphic elements. But in both cases you should only use images:

  1. for which you own the full copyright 
  2. for which the exclusive rights you can, if required, pass on to Greenpeace

If 2. applies, please clearly highlight the third-party image material.

Helpful links

In German

In English


The legal responsibility for the task and contents defined above lies solely with Greenpeace e.V. (Hongkongstraße 10, 20457 Hamburg/Germany). Greenpeace reserves the right to remove and delete submissions upon their own measures which violate statutory provisions. Any such submissions will not take part in the competitive bidding process.

Download material

Click on the following links to download working material and additional information related to the project.

Project terms

For this project, special  project terms  apply.

Halftime Feedback

Dear All,

first of all Greenpeace wants to thank you for such a strong engagement in this project and some outstanding approaches already! Here´s your feedback to finetune your submissions or come up with new ideas fro the second half of the project:

  • Greenpeace's goal is to convince McDonalds to refrain from using genetically modified animal food. Therefore they need a very clear, catching, smart and strong campaign visual – and a short slogan.
  • Everyone should understand  your campaign visual within seconds, wherever they get in touch with it. Think of media captures of events like pictures of activists with your campaign visual. Everyone should quickly understand it. "There´s something going wrong at McDonalds".  
  • What do you think would be the most efficient campaign visual and slogan that would make McDonalds need to react and change their policy of genetically modified animal feed? That would catch their attention, too?
  • Keep in mind that Greenpeace Activists might protest against genetically modified animal food right in front of McDonalds "restaurants" as well.  What kind of campaign visual and slogan would work best if you imagine this situation? Is there anything that you could add to help activists making a clear statement on top of your idea?
  • Please keep in mind the focus is not genetically modified corn, rather more genetically modified soy. 
  • Pleas keep in mind there may not be any visuals showing the animals (chicken, cow, pig) being genetically modified. The animals are not genetically modified and nor do they start mutating if they eat the genetically-modified animal feed. 

We are excited to see your outstanding ideas in the second half of the project!


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Project terms

Important Notice: As the creator of your submission you are responsible for its content. In case any legal matters arise in connection to your submission please contact Greenpeace e.V. (Hongkongstraße 10, 20457 Hamburg/Germany). Greenpeace is there to support and will assist you with any questions of law. --- Wichtiger Hinweis: Als Urheber Deines Beitrages bist Du auch für dessen Inhalt verantwortlich. Für den Fall, dass sich im Rahmen deiner Einreichung rechtliche Probleme ergeben sollten, setzte Dich bitte mit Greenpeace e.V. (Hongkongstraße 10, 20457 Hamburg/Deutschland) in Verbindung. Greenpeace steht hinter Dir und wird Dich bei allfälligen Rechtsfragen unterstützen.