Maple Leaf Determined to Become Most Sustainable Protein Company on Earth

CANADA - Maple Leaf Foods has announced its ambition to be the most sustainable protein company on earth, based on a sweeping set of principles and an expansive sustainability agenda that has yielded substantial advancements in nutrition and environmental impact, elevated animals care, and step-changed the Company’s investment in social change.
calendar icon 7 June 2017
clock icon 4 minute read

“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, President and CEO.

“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.”

  • One in three people globally are overweight, while over 800 million are undernourished.1
  • The food system accounts for approximately 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions; livestock production contributes more C02 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

“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,” continued Mr. McCain. “This is true to who we are, reflects our strengths and builds on the material progress we have made over the past several years.”

Sustainability requires a broad perspective and Maple Leaf has spent a lot of time researching and thinking about what this entails. The result is an industry first set of Sustainable Meat Principles that will guide the Company’s growth and business practices:

  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. They are based on what society needs and where we need to lead. We have full confidence that the actions we take will deliver outstanding results for society and our company.”

To bring the Company’s Sustainable Meat Principles to life, Maple Leaf 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 per cent by 2025.

Highlights of the Company’s recent sustainability progress include:

  • 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 per cent, water by 20.9 per cent, waste by 8.4 per cent and GHG emissions by 33.2 per cent since 2015.
  • Committed to achieve 50 per cent women in leadership roles within 5 years (manager level and above).

More information about these highlights are available in the Sustainability at Maple Leaf Fact Sheet and at

1. Ranganathan J, Vennard D, Waite R, Dumas P, Lipinski B, Searchinger T, and Globagri-WRR Model Authors. World Resources Institute, 2016. Installment 11 of “Creating a Sustainable Food Future”: Shifting Diets for a Sustainable Food Future.

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