Maple Leaf Foods has declared itself the first major food company in the world to be carbon neutral.
“Our company’s vision is to be the most sustainable protein company on earth,” said President and CEO Michael McCain in a video announcement of the company’s carbon-neutral status. “The urgency of the climate crisis compelled us to become carbon neutral now.”
Agriculture, particularly the production of animal protein, is a major source of greenhouse gases, something that Maple Leaf Foods acknowledges. It says global food production faces an urgent need for transformative change, but that its success demonstrates that meat and poultry products can be sustainably produced.
The company was able to declare carbon neutrality in 2019 through new investments in what it describes as high quality, credible and verifiable offsets in Canada and the United States. Projects include landfill gas recovery, biomass, renewable energy, composting and forestry.
The company expects to continue to rely on offsets to maintain its carbon-neutral status. It says it has established an internal price on carbon as an incentive to reduce emissions, and that the percentage of offsets needed should decline over time.
The company has made a number of environmental commitments, including reducing its environmental footprint by 50% by 2025, using 2014 as a baseline. It has also pledged to reduce its absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions (direct emissions and emissions from purchased electricity) by 30% by 2030 from a 2018 base year. It will also cut its scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions (emissions generated in the supply chain) by 30% per tonne of product produced by 2030.