Canadian meat company Maple Leaf Foods has announced its ambition to be the most sustainable protein company in the world.
Maple Leaf has published what it calls an industry first set of Sustainable Meat Principles, which will guide best practices. These include ensuring that sustainable meat is produced adhering to environmental standards and by a company responsive to the needs of society.
The company is responding to what it believes as a lack of trust in the food industry, which has not operated with the level of transparency or accountability to consumer health that society needs.
President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods Michael McCain said: “The world we live in is facing profound social and environmental challenges, as we seek to sustainably feed a burgeoning global population.
“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.
“We deeply believe that Maple Leaf can be a leader in advancing more sustainable protein and that this will provide exciting growth opportunities for companies prepared to lead. This is true to who we are, reflects our strengths and builds on the material progress we have made over the past several years.”
To realise the its Sustainable Meat Principles, Maple Leaf will employ six strategies: leading in sustainability, investing in people, making great food, broadening reach, building a digital future and eliminating waste.
It is hoped that the company’s environmental footprint will be reduced by 50% by 2025. Since 2015 it has cut energy use by nearly 28% and there is a commitment to achieve 50% women in leadership roles within the next five years.
In February this year, Maple Leaf acquired plant-based protein manufacturer Lightlife Foods for $140 million in a bid to enhance the sustainability of its product portfolio.
Lighlife controls nearly 40% of the US’ refrigerated plant protein market and reported sales of approximately $40 million last year.
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