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Serving up a sustainable transformation

Large food producer achieves carbon-neutrality and builds a bigger vision for long-term sustainability

The Vision

Food manufacturing is one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas contributors. Maple Leaf Foods decided to be a part of the solution—by decarbonising its operations and supply chain through data-driven, targeted action. The goal? To become the most sustainable protein company on the planet.

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The starting point

Maple Leaf Foods´ vision is to become the most sustainable protein company on Earth. As Canada’s largest prepared meats and poultry producer, the company operates with more than 14,000 team members and 25 locations, including processing and manufacturing plants. The scale of the organisation brings with it the potential for a large carbon footprint—one that extends from grain mills and pig barns to distribution networks. A network that brings products to grocery retailers and restaurants across North America.

Company leaders have long realised that there is no shortage of opportunities for embedding sustainability into the business and they have accelerated their efforts in recent years—with initiatives that include a biofuels strategy for converting waste into usable energy, as well as regenerative agriculture practices to pull carbon from the environment and return it to the earth.

The efforts have paid off and in 2019 Maple Leaf Foods became the world’s first major carbon-neutral food company. But getting to that point—and going beyond—has brought with it a need to define the ongoing journey, navigate risk and ensure that any future actions create a positive, meaningful and measurable impact.

“We’ve made this commitment to become carbon-neutral. It was a commitment we were very proud to make, but we were also very nervous because we weren't exactly certain of the path to accomplish the goal.”

Curtis Frank, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods

“We partnered with Deloitte to help us to define the journey, risk-assess the journey and ensure that we were not going to commit to this with any flavour of greenwashing.”

Michael McCain, executive chair of Maple Leaf Foods

The way forward

To help the company advance confidently and effectively on its sustainable journey, Maple Leaf Foods leaders selected Deloitte to provide industry-leading solutions and services—including Deloitte’s decarbonisation solution to support carbon-neutrality objectives. The company also tapped Deloitte’s experience in greenhouse gas accounting, business strategy, financial modelling and external reporting and disclosure—all of which helped build stakeholder trust and confidence in the transformation.

Through industry-specific insights as well as the decarbonisation solution, Deloitte has helped enable Maple Leaf Foods to set net-zero goals, identify initiatives for carbon reduction, create a roadmap, analyse data and monitor progress in real time. The technology is incorporated in the GreenLight Solution by Deloitte, an end-to-end decarbonisation software tool that helps unlock a clear, actionable path to net-zero emissions that can be deployed by organisations across a wide range of industries and sectors. Built on a leading-edge cloud AI platform, GreenLight can accurately calculate emissions and evaluate decarbonisation projects using a dataset of over 150,000 emissions factors, benchmarks and abatement metrics.

“The most important part of that is our commitment to science-based targets. The science-based target initiative is something Deloitte helped us with throughout the process by helping us first calculate the emissions arising from our operations and also calculating the emissions from our supply chain.”

Randy Huffman, chief food safety and sustainability officer for Maple Leaf Foods

The Achievements

1. Enabled the ability to set net-zero goals, identify initiatives for carbon reduction, analyse data and monitor progress in real time

2. Provided focus and clarity on priority emission reduction opportunities, based on science-based targets

3. Provided a roadmap for an ongoing sustainability journey

4. Enhanced capabilities to assess and navigate the risks associated with a sustainable transformation

5. Achieved carbon-neutrality across the business and demonstrated a long-term, measurable commitment to sustainability

6. Positioned the organisation to grow strategically and realise its vision of becoming the world’s most sustainable protein company

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