BERLIN (AP) -- McDonald's is going green -- swapping its traditional red backdrop for a deep hunter green -- to promote a more eco-friendly image in Europe.
About 100 German McDonald's restaurants will make the change by the end of 2009, the company said in a statement Monday. Some franchises in Great Britain and France have already started using the new color scheme behind their Golden Arches.
"This is not only a German initiative but a Europewide initiative," Martin Nowicki, McDonald's Germany spokesman, told The Associated Press.
The Oak Brook, Illinois-based burger behemoth has more than 32,000 restaurants in 118 countries and has long been targeted by activists as being environmentally unfriendly.
Still, in recent years the company has warmed to "greener" practices, including environmentally friendly refrigeration and converting used oil into biodiesel fuel.
"With this new appearance we want to clarify our responsibility for the preservation of natural resources. In the future we will put an even larger focus on that," Hoger Beek, vice chairman of McDonald's Germany, said in the statement.
In Germany, McDonald's has seen significant growth despite the global economic crisis, opening 42 new restaurants this year for a total of 1,350.
The chain plans to open another 40 new restaurants across Germany in 2010, encouraged by a worldwide revenues of $23.5 billion.