CANADA – Maple Leaf Foods, a Canadian meat and plant protein producer, has taken a massive step forward on its sustainability journey as the “first major food company in the world to become carbon neutral.”

Maple Leaf says that it has been working to half reduce the company’s environmental footprint by 2025, as part of its efforts to cultivate a more sustainable food production and a more sustainable protein industry.

One of the greatest challenges for the agriculture industry is to meet the increasing global demand for food while dramatically decreasing the environmental footprint of food production.

The company, which produces ham, roast chicken and sausages among other products acknowledged that through creating its nutrient-dense, animal and plant-protein products, it generates substantial emissions.

To mitigate this, Maple Leaf has since 2015 made great progress in reducing its environmental footprint.

So far, the company claims that it has manage to reduce its electricity consumption by 86 million kilowatt hour, cut its natural gas consumption by 4.3 million cubic meters while at the same time reducing company’s water usage by 1.2 billion litres.

The company has further doubled down its commitment to reduce emissions by adopting a new, more ambitious Science Based Targets through 2030.

This commitment makes Maple Leaf the first major food company in Canada to set Science Based Target and one of only three animal protein companies in the world to set these targets.

“There is simply no more time to waste,” said Michael McCain, President and CEO. “Climate change’s devastating impact on our planet must be confronted head-on by business leaders and it must be done now.”

To further accelerate its sustainability ambitions, Maple Leaf is also investing in high-impact environmental projects throughout Canada and United States aimed at neutralizing the company’s remaining and currently unavoidable emissions.

“These projects support green wind energy, recovery of methane gas for energy from landfills, energy efficiency programs, composting and biomass projects, and forest protection and re-forestry that also support species-protection and bio-diversity,” McCain added.

“Climate change is a serious, global problem and we are committed not just to words, but to actions that will benefit our communities and ensure a brighter future for generations to come.

“We are on our journey to be the most sustainable protein company on earth!” he added.

The company’s commitment to sustainability focuses on progress in the following areas; eliminating waste in any resources consumed, tracking utility expenditure and environmental footprint performance and developing a comprehensive carbon management strategy.