Back to Stories

Maple Leaf Foods 2019 Sustainability Report Summary

A sunset over a beautiful field

Our purposeful journey to becoming the most sustainable protein company on earth. 

Maple Leaf Foods announced the release of its 2019 Sustainability Report on July 7, outlining the company’s key programs and achievements during the past year, as well as future initiatives and priorities supporting Maple Leaf Foods’ purposeful journey to be the most sustainable protein company on earth.

We expanded our commitment to sustainability and made meaningful progress throughout 2019, including becoming the first major carbon neutral food company in the world and setting science-based greenhouse gas emissions targets. Our commitment to the environment comes from a recognition that producing nutrient-dense protein takes resources, and the company has a responsibility to replenish the environment in equal measure.

Our sustainability program is built on four guiding pillars – Better Food, Better Care, Better Communities and Better Planet. Highlights from the  report include:

Better Food

Great food means different things to different people, and we want to meet those needs. We are committed to delivering to our consumers, great-tasting food with natural ingredients and better nutrition, and also produced in a safe work environment.

  • Expanded our Raised Without Antibiotics (RWA) program to our Prime® brand in Western Canada and launched our Prime® Organic brand.
  • Remained the largest producer of RWA pork in North America and the largest producer of RWA poultry in Canada.
  • Continued expanding our leadership in plant-based protein: In 2019, we piloted the Maple Leaf® 50/50 beef and plant-based burger, made with 50% less meat and natural, plant-based ingredients.
  • Rolled out our world-class Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) training program to all plants.
  • Conducted over 211,000 food safety tests with zero product recalls.
  • Exceeded our Food Safety Incident Rate (FSIR) target by 53% and Quality Incident Rate (QIR) target by 15%.
  • Continued to implement and deliver on our Brand Manifesto.

Better Food: A ham, lettuce and cheese sandwich.

Better Care

We have strong values that deeply define our culture and how we operate. These values extend to how we treat animals we raise or source and it reflects our goal to be a leader in animal care.

  • Converted 50,000 (77%) sows to our Advanced Open Sow Housing system to date.
  • Provided enrichment toys for nursery and growing pigs in 90% of our operations.
  • Converted 100% of our pig trailers to hydraulic-lift deck systems.
  • Reduced our antibiotic usage by 63% across Maple Leaf Foods’ owned pork farms.
  • Committed to enhancing our animal welfare practices in a manner that advances the Five Freedoms and are implementing the Five Domains of animal welfare into our culture.
  • Fully transitioned our Edmonton poultry plant to Controlled Atmosphere Stunning.
  • Employees who handle live animals have completed the Animal Care training modules.
  • Continued to work with our Maple Leaf Foods Animal Care Advisory Council to recommend best practices, scientific research and innovation in an effort to help us continually improve.
  • Continued to implement and communicate our Animal Care Golden Rules and Commitment to Animal Care.

Better Care: Two Maple Leaf Foods employees inspecting our poultry facility.

Better Communities

We value our communities and work collaboratively with organizations to reduce food insecurity in Canada. We value a culture and work environment that keeps people safe, rewards excellence and empowers everyone to learn and contribute their best.

  • Contributed more than $2.3M to initiatives working to advance food security and donated more than $1.6M healthful products to organizations with large distribution networks to reach those in need.
  • Created #unCanadian, a social media campaign to raise awareness of food insecurity across Canada during the federal election and over a three-week period, we achieved 11.5M impressions, over 65K responses to our poll questions, and over 1.4M views with over 500K through plays.
  • The Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security partnered with 19 organizations across Canada to advance food security.
  • The Centre donated $10K to the Nature Conservancy’s Bahama Program to support climate action after Hurricane Dorian.
  • Achieved zero lost time injuries at 21 sites that became members of our Zero Hero Safety Club.
  • Achieved a best-in-class Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) of 0.60 and a Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) Rate of 0.21.
  • Achieved a 97% completion of annual safety and health accident reduction plans (SHARP) by all sites.
  • Women representation at the manager level and above increased to 38%, up from 36% in 2017.
  • Launched our mental health initiative, You Are Not Alone!, to develop a culture that stops the stigma associated with mental health challenges.

Better Communities: A family planting an evergreen tree.

Better Planet

Leading in sustainability is not only one of our core strategies, but it also represents an enterprise-wide view that encompasses every aspect of our business.

  • Became the first major food company in the world to become carbon neutral.
  • Set science-based targets approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and became of only three companies in Canada to do so
  • Reduced our electricity intensity by 22%, natural gas intensity by 10%, water intensity by 17% and solid waste intensity by 19% since 2014.
  • Achieved a company-wide landfill diversion rate of 90.7%.
  • Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and contributed to 12 SDGs.
  • Achieved a 40% reduction in packaging material weight across Maple Leaf® branded LunchKits and a 14% average reduction in packaging material weight across our Maple Leaf Prime® Further Processed Poultry.
  • Used 100% recyclable content for our Swift® Premium Chicken Mini Pot Pie and 100% recyclable trays made with 95% post-recycled content for our Maple Leaf Prime® Organic Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, Lightlife™ Plant-based Burger and Greenfield® Fresh Pork.
  • Became the first Canadian food company to partner with How2Recycle and the first food company to partner with Loop.
  • Members of several organizations and participated in different programs to share knowledge and advance collaboration on supply chain

Better Planet: The sun shining on a beautiful crop.

At Maple Leaf Foods, we are continually working toward more sustainable food production and a more sustainable food system, as we address the significant environmental and social challenges facing society. We are committed to creating shared values, which we believe is critical to a sustainable planet and a sustainable, thriving company. We are pressing on in our journey to be the most sustainable protein company on earth.

To view the full 2019 Sustainability Report, click here.