When McDonald’s uses its scale for good, the ripple effect through the food chain is massive. Its decisions to offer only cage-free eggs and to adopt a stricter antibiotics policy with its chickens (both in the U.S.) are mainstreaming ideas that were once relevant only to foodies environmentalists and animal-welfare activists. This kind of food news—along with McNuggets free of artificial preservatives and buns made without high fructose corn syrup—is bringing the fast food behemoth closer in line with how consumers today are eating. The shift is hardly altruistic. CEO Steve Easterbrook is betting that changing its food—and customers’ perception of it—will help revive the company. For more, read Inside McDonald’s Bold Decision to Go Cage Free.
A version of this article appears in Fortune’s September 1 issue as part of the Fortune Change the World List, our annual ranking of major companies whose business activities are having a positive social impact. Click here to see the entire package.