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Maple Leaf wants to be “the most sustainable protein company on earth”

Maple Leaf Foods has laid out a plan to advance sustainable meat principles, reduce emissions and advocate for moderating meat consumption


Mississauga, Ont. – One of Canada’s largest food manufacturers has announced an ambitious and lofty goal.

In a statement, Maple Leaf Foods says it wants “to be the most sustainable protein company on earth.”

Maple Leaf is basing this announcement on a current set of principles and an agenda the company is already following. The initiative has led to the company making strides in nutrition, environmental sustainability, animal care and corporate social responsibility. But it wants to take the initiative further.

“The world we live in is facing profound social and environmental challenges, as we seek to sustainably feed a burgeoning global population,” says Maple Leaf president and CEO, Michael H. McCain in a statement.

“Our food system has drifted from its roots, to nourish wellbeing, to farm sustainably, to view food as a universal good for all. We must serve the world better.”

The company adds that its achievements so far can set the stage for other companies to follow, and that opportunities abound for those companies that do want to pursue the same goals.

In the statement, Maple Leaf says it has created an “industry-first set of Sustainable Meat Principles that will guide the company’s growth and business practices.”

The principles are:

“1. Sustainable meat is nutritious, healthy and safe.
2. Sustainable meat is accessible, affordable and eaten in moderation.
3. Sustainable meat is produced adhering to environmental standards that measurably reduce impacts across the lifecycle.
4. Sustainable meat comes from animals that are raised with care, with minimal use of antibiotics and to standards that respect the Five Freedoms of animal welfare.
5. Sustainable meat is produced through a resilient, fair and efficient food system that makes optimal use of land and natural resources.
6. Sustainable meat is produced by a company that is responsive to the needs of society.”

In order to see the Sustainable Meat Principles come to life, Maple Leaf says it is employing six strategies:

“-Leading in sustainability: setting some of the most aggressive goals in the industry.
-Investing in people: a place where the very best people can realize their full potential.
-Making great food: leading in food safety, nutrition and reducing antibiotic use in livestock.
-Broadening reach: expanding in plant-based proteins and better meat.
-Building a digital future: leveraging the new digital world in logistics and workplace.
-Eliminating waste: reducing the company’s environmental footprint by 50% by 2025.”

In the statement the company also released the highlights of its progress so far:

  • “Achieved total Recordable Incidence Rate of 0.78, a world class workplace safety performance.
  • Expanded Maple Leaf’s market leadership in pork and poultry raised without antibiotics.
  • Converted 33,000 sows to an enhanced loose housing by year-end 2017, while implementing a comprehensive plan to establish leading animal care practices.
  • Launched the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security to advance sustainable food security through advocacy, innovation and knowledge transfer.
  • Cut energy use by 27.6%, water by 20.9%, waste by 8.4% and GHG emissions by 33.2% since 2015.
  • Committed to achieve 50% women in leadership roles within five years (manager level and above).”

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