Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Maple Leaf aims high on sustainability

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. says it intends to become the world’s leading company on sustainability.

It issued a lengthy news release this week loaded with politically-correct jargon, but also indicating that the meat packer intends to shift more into plant proteins. Earlier this year it bought a plant-protein company in the United States.

"The world we live in is facing profound social and environmental challenges, as we seek to sustainably feed a burgeoning global population," said Michael H. McCain, company president and chief executive officer.

"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."

He outlined the issues and challenges as:

   One in three people globally are overweight, while more than 800 million are undernourished.1
   The food system accounts for approximately 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions; livestock production contributes more carbon dioxide emissions than all the world's transportation combined.1
   North American's consume four times more meat than non-industrial countries, which is unsustainable, while global meat consumption is forecast to rise 80 per cent by 2050.1
   There is a rising lack of trust in the food industry, which has not operated with the level of transparency or accountability to consumer health and nutrition that society needs. 1

The company’s response is a set of principles:

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. 

"We embrace these principles, recognizing that sustainability is aspirational and evolving," said Mr. McCain. "We will measure ourselves against progress, not perfection.

“We have full confidence that the actions we take will deliver outstanding results for society and our company," he said.

McCain outlined a list of company goals:

   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 per cent by 2025.