1. Why was it important for Maple Leaf to become the world’s first major carbon neutral food company?
Maple Leaf is committed to becoming the most sustainable protein company on earth. Becoming the world’s first major carbon neutral food company is an important milestone in our sustainability journey and achieving that goal.
As of November 2019, we were one of just three animal protein companies in the world, and the only Canadian food company to set science-based targets that align with the Paris Climate Accord, showing our ongoing commitment to the planet.
We are extremely proud to take leadership in demonstrating that a strong business model and sustainability initiatives are not mutually exclusive goals.
2. What specific steps were taken in factory operations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
Maple Leaf Foods has pledged to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions produced from our operations and the electricity we purchase by 30% by 2030.
In order to meet these ambitious goals, we’ve taken several steps such as facility-wide LED lighting retrofits, improving boiler combustion efficiency and heat recovery systems to name a few. These initiatives are all high impact projects to reduce energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency across our facilities.
3. What about the supply chain?
In 2019, we identified that our supply chain emissions accounted for 78.4% of our total greenhouse gas emissions, giving us an opportunity to review our supply chain and find ways to optimize efficiency.
We have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced throughout our supply chain by 30% per tonne of product produced by 2030.
In order to achieve this, we work with our suppliers, customers and industry stakeholders to identify opportunities to reduce our supply chain impacts. For example, we’ve taken significant steps to cut back on more than 8.5 million kilometres of truck transportation since
2011 by transitioning to intermodal transport for 83% of our cross-country resupply loads, reducing nearly 10,000 tonnes of emissions. We have partnered with our packaging suppliers to focus on material reduction, post-consumer recycled content, alternative materials and consumer education.
4. What other environmental projects were undertaken and is there an environmental offset program in place?
In order to meet our ambitious sustainability goals, we have aggressively reduced our emissions where possible in our factories and supply chain, and have invested in a variety of high-impact environmental projects across Canada and the United States – from supporting forestry and renewable energy initiatives to waste diversion, composting and biomass projects – in order to offset our unavoidable emissions.
5. What are the next steps for the company’s sustainability goals?
We are on a purposeful journey to become the most sustainable protein company on earth. To achieve this, we are committed to reducing our environmental footprint and food waste by 50% by 2025. As previously mentioned, we are aiming to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions produced from our operations and the electricity we purchase, as well as reduce those produced from our supply chain by 30% by 2030.
We aim to achieve these targets by continually seeking opportunities to reduce our waste and emissions at every level of our organization and by continuing to invest in environmental programs. You can learn more about our achievements to-date and next steps in our 2019 Sustainability Report.