Maple Leaf Foods says it is converting its operations to carbon-neutral, effective immediately.
The company says it is the first major protein company in the world to take the step, and one of three major animal protein companies to set emissions reduction targets in accordance with those of the Science Based Targets initiative.
A company spokesperson says Maple Leaf has already made significant progress towards reducing its environmental footprint by 50 per cent by the year 2025.
Since 2015, Maple Leaf has reduced:
- over 86 million kilowatt hours of electricity, equivalent to 12,912 passenger vehicles driven for one year;
- more than 4.3 million cubic metres of natural gas, which equals annual energy usage for 1,000 homes; and
- water usage by 1.2 billion litres.
“As a part of becoming carbon neutral, Maple Leaf is also investing in credible and independently verified high-impact environmental projects throughout the U.S. and Canada to offset its remaining footprint, bringing it to zero,” the spokesperson said. “These offsets include support for projects focused on wind energy, recovering methane gas from landfills, composting and biomass programs to reduce methane emissions, and forest protection/re-forestry to conserve species and biodiversity.”
Sylvain Charlebois, professor in food distribution and policy and scientific director, Agri-Food Analytics Lab, Dalhousie University, says Maple Leaf's carbon-neutral plan parallels its plan to change its organizational stucture and the way it serves its markets. Charlebois points out that the company recently announced that it would create a separate division internally to develop its plant-based business, fully committing to vegetable proteins.
“Maple Leaf Foods wants to be carbon neutral for one reason. Its emphasis is no longer about supply-side economics but rather about listening to and serving a market in desperate need of attention,” he says. "It’s so un-Canadian to be first, to set a world standard, especially in agrifood. But the plan deserves credit. Maple Leaf Foods is going from being a Canadian iconic brand to a global player in proteins."