At Maple Leaf Foods, we are continually working toward more sustainable food production and a more sustainable protein industry. We believe the best way to drive change is by creating shared value – delivering value for our Company through addressing the significant environmental and social challenges that we face as a society.
“Maple Leaf Foods’ purposeful journey to be the most sustainable protein company on earth continued in 2019 with conviction as we took important steps that advanced us forward in creating better food, better care, better communities and a better planet. In 2019, we became the first major food company in the world to be carbon neutral NOW! It’s a win-win-win for the environment, for the consumers who are demanding more of the people who supply their food and for our Company, as we respond to the expectations of our customers and our communities.”
– Michael H. McCain, President and CEO
Subsequent to December 31, 2019, the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The situation is dynamic and the ultimate duration and magnitude of the impact on the economy, society, the environment and on Maple Leaf Foods’ sustainability strategy is not known at this time. These impacts could include delays to sustainability projects, irregularities in our environmental footprint performance and community engagement activities undertaken. We are taking every step we can to protect our people as we continue our essential operations to deliver the food people need. Maple Leaf Foods is also actively engaged in supporting our communities through this crisis. We have announced several important actions to support our communities through emergency food relief and financial support for front-line health care workers.
Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (the Company) is a forward-thinking, values-based company with a purpose to “Raise the Good in Food.” This purpose defines not just what we do as an organization, but why we do it. We have created a blueprint for our organization that summarizes our business strategy of delivering shared value to consumers, customers, our people, communities and shareholders.Learn More
Creating Shared Value
Our blueprint has six strategies to create shared value, of which three are addressing the significant environmental and social challenges that we face as a society.
Provide nutritious products and services that address social problems. We can achieve this through reduction and elimination of antibiotic use in animal production.
Use resources efficiently and at lower cost. We can achieve this through reduction of energy consumption, waste and water usage.
Vision and Approach
We are actively addressing the most pressing diet-related health issues we face as a society, including reducing artificial ingredients, antibiotics use and sodium levels, and continually advancing leadership in food safety.
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. Better care for animals is one of our four sustainability priorities, and it reflects our goal to be a leader in animal care.
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.
We embrace a sustainable culture that focuses on eliminating waste in any resources we consume – including food, energy, water, packaging and time. In 2019, we became the first major food company in the world to be carbon neutral, and the first Canadian food company to set science-based targets for greenhouse gas emissions.
Our Sustainable Meat Principles
But our food system has drifted from its roots – to nourish, to farm sustainably, to strive for social good, to connect deeply with our consumers.
At Maple Leaf Foods, we believe that we can raise everyone to better living, to a better life, by raising the good in food. To that end, we have developed a set of sustainable meat principles that will help guide and define our future.
A Message from Our CEO, Michael McCain
Distinguished Harvard Professor and thought leader Michael Porter observed that, “Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or sustainability, but a new way for companies to achieve economic success.” But, long before the concepts of inclusive capital became mainstream, Maple Leaf Foods has been embracing this ethos as core to our business strategies. Maple Leaf Foods’ purposeful journey to be the most sustainable protein company on earth continued in 2019 with conviction as we took important steps that advanced us forward in creating better food, better care, better communities and a better planet.
In 2019, we became the first major food company in the world to be carbon neutral NOW! It’s a win-win-win for the environment, for the consumers who are demanding more of the people who supply their food and for our Company, as we respond to the expectations of our customers and our communities.
Becoming carbon neutral was a huge milestone for us as we followed through on a commitment we made several years ago: a 50% reduction of our environmental footprint by 2025. We are progressing towards that goal, however we are not moving fast enough. Therefore, in 2019, we upped our game, becoming one of only 290 companies in the world at that time to have set science-based greenhouse gas emissions targets (Scope 1, 2 and 3) approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. Science-based targets are globally accepted and aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Importantly, they require that we reduce our emissions even as we grow, and that’s where our journey will continue.
In achieving carbon neutrality, we reduced our emissions and offset the remaining unavoidable emissions by investing in ten, high-impact, high-quality environmental projects throughout Canada and the US., most of them tied to the communities where we operate.
While some protein companies are poised to battle in response to criticisms of their environmental footprint, we take a different approach: we listen and we embrace change. We know that producing nutrient-dense products like ours takes resources, and we aim to offer consumers better food – products that they love for their taste, nutrition and cultural importance, and that they can feel good about ethically.
In 2019, we expanded our Raised Without Antibiotics (RWA) program to our Prime® brand in Western Canada and launched our Prime® Organic brand. We also made significant investments in growth in our plant protein business. We stepped up innovation efforts to bring a range of new plant-based protein products to foodservice and grocery stores, simplified their ingredients and introduced our customers to the idea that plant-based protein can be a delicious and nutritious part of a balanced diet.
Our work in advancing animal care also saw significant progress and positioned us as a true leader in animal care in North America. We have transitioned 77% of our total sows to our Advanced Open Sow Housing system to-date. To reduce stress in our pigs during transport, we converted 100% of our pig trailers to a hydraulic-lift deck system. Ninety percent of our nursery and growing pig barns now have enrichments and toys to encourage natural behaviour. In poultry welfare, we commissioned our new state-of-the-art indoor lairage facility and controlled atmosphere stunning in our Edmonton, Alberta, fresh poultry operation.
Through it all, our commitment to our communities has only deepened. Maple Leaf Foods has contributed over $8 million to initiatives working to advance food security to date through our Centre for Action on Food Security. In addition, more than $5.3 million in healthful products have been donated to date. In addition to meeting immediate needs for financial and food support, we advocate policies that will solve the problem of food insecurity at its core and cut food insecurity in Canada in half by 2030.
To our customers, our consumers and all our stakeholders – we’re listening and we hear you. We know you want products that you can feel good about from committed companies determined to give back to our society and the planet. We aim to be that company now and into the future.
Michael H. McCain
President and CEO
Maple Leaf Foods’ management is responsible for the preparation and integrity of the information reported in our sustainability report. Sources for statistical information referenced that are not related directly to Maple Leaf Foods are either noted or available upon request. If you see a reference about currency, please remember that all financial information is reported in Canadian dollars. We believe this information accurately represents our sustainability initiatives and performance results for the 2019 reporting year (unless otherwise noted).
The reported data in the 2019 Sustainability Report found in these web pages covers the calendar year from January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019 (unless otherwise noted). Reports from previous years are available in our Downloads section.
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards
Our reporting practices follow the current Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards as a reference and reflect the most current data and information we have about our business. We are reporting in accordance with the Core option of the GRI Standards and have chosen not to externally assure any of our standard disclosure items at this time.
To learn more about our GRI performance, please refer to our GRI Index.
Sustainable Development Goals
Maple Leaf Foods’ sustainability strategy is well aligned with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are an urgent call to action by the United Nations for social, environmental and economic progress globally by 2030. These goals provide a universal and visionary framework for all countries, governments, companies and individuals to proactively address global challenges and implement strategies to improve health and education, reduce inequality, encourage economic growth and tackle climate change.
Given the nature of our business, we have identified the following SDGs that Maple Leaf Foods has the greatest potential to contribute to:
- SDG 2: Zero Hunger
- SDG 5: Gender Equality
- SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
- SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
- SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
- SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
- SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
- SDG 13: Climate Action
- SDG 15: Life on Land
- SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
- SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
Click here to learn more about how our targets and goals are aligned with these SDGs.
Click here to view SDG Logo Use Guidelines.
Our sustainability website is the main vehicle for reporting on our sustainability performance. We welcome all feedback on our initiatives and progress.
To submit feedback, or to ask a question, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our reporting boundary includes entities over which Maple Leaf Foods has operational control – our processing and manufacturing facilities, distribution facilities and offices (both leased and owned buildings), feed mill operations, pork barns, hatcheries and poultry barns. We have reported on performance indicators (i.e., GRI indicators) for these entities as applicable. In 2019, we added Viau Food Products Inc. and Cericola Farms Inc. into our reporting and restated our footprint intensity performance back to our baseline year of 2014.
Due to data limitations, we have not included our U.S. facilities in our solid waste data.
For entities over which Maple Leaf Foods has significant influence, including our contract hog, poultry growers, and key suppliers and co-manufacturers, we have disclosed our management approach. We have not reported on performance indicators (unless otherwise indicated) for these entities as they are independent businesses.
We seek to understand our stakeholders’ opinions and needs through open dialogue and inclusiveness, which helps guide how we report on our sustainability initiatives each year.
Materiality and Stakeholder Inclusiveness
We place tremendous value on having an open dialogue about sustainability with Maple Leaf Foods stakeholders, including our employees, consumers, customers, shareholders, investors, suppliers, lenders, government, and non-governmental and non-profit organizations.
We compiled a comprehensive list of topics based on findings from consultations and surveys with employees, customer interviews, ongoing internal sustainability initiatives, competitive benchmark reports and discussions with key internal leaders who are in contact with our external stakeholders.
This list of topics helps guide our annual sustainability reporting.
*Materiality matrix updated in 2018
We communicate our sustainability initiatives and performance on a regular basis. Highlights of our internal and external communication include:
- Monthly reporting to the Senior Leadership Team
- Quarterly reporting to the CEO, COO and CFO
- Reporting (three times per year) to the Safety & Sustainability Committee of the Maple Leaf Foods Board
- Ongoing customer and stakeholder meetings and communications
- Ongoing intranet and social media channel updates
- Annual sustainability report and website update
- Canadian Meat Council*
- National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC)
- North American Meat Institute (NAMI)*
- Brandon Chamber of Commerce
- Business Council of Canada (formerly Canadian Council of Chief Executives)*
- Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters Inc. (I.E. Canada)
- Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association
- Employers Advocacy Council (EAC)
- Grocers & Manufacturers Collaborative (GMC)*
- Manitoba Chambers of Commerce
- Manitoba Industrial Power Users Group (MIPUG)
- Ontario Chamber of Commerce
- Plant Engineering and Maintenance Association of Canada (PEMAC)
- Alberta Food Processors Association
- Conseil de la Transformation Alimentaire du Québec (CTAQ)
- Food and Beverage Canada
- Food & Beverage Ontario*
- Plant-Based Foods Association (U.S.)
- Plant-Based Foods of Canada
- Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers
- Restaurants Canada
- Agri-Subcommittee on Food Safety (ASFS)
- American Meat Science Association (AMSA)*
- Canadian Meat Science Association (CMSA)
- Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP)
- Food Secure Canada
- Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
- International Association for Food Protection (IAFP)
- Ontario Food Protection Association
- Association of Canadian Advertisers
- Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI)*
- Canadian Food Innovators (CFI)*
- Food Processing Human Resources Council*
- GS1 Canada*
- Next Generation Manufacturing Canada Supercluster
- Protein Industries Canada
- Research Chefs Association
- Packaging Consortium*
- Stewardship Ontario*
- Ag and Food Exchange
- 21st Century Pork Club (Canadian and U.S. clubs)
- Canada Pork International*
- Canadian Pork Council
- Canadian Swine Research & Development Cluster (CDPQ)*
- Manitoba Pork Council*
- Pork Value Chain Roundtable
- Swine Innovation Pork
- Alberta Hatchery Association
- Association of Ontario Chicken Processors*
- Canadian Hatching Egg Producers*
- Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council*
- Chicken Farmers of Canada*
- Further Poultry Processors Association of Canada*
- IPWA/U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry and Eggs (Poultry & Egg Sustainability and Welfare Foundation)
- National Chicken Council (NCC)*
- Ontario Association of Poultry Practitioners (OAPP)
- Ontario Broiler Hatching Egg and Chick Commission*
- Ontario Hatcheries Association*
- Ontario Turkey Processors Association
- Poultry Industry Council
- Poultry Research Council
- Turkey Farmers of Canada
- Ontario Turkey Processors Association
- Private Motor Truck Council of Canada*
- Smart Commute Ontario
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development
- Canadian Business for Social Responsibility
- Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops
- Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil
- Partners in Project Green – Toronto Regional Conservation Authority
- ISEAL Alliance
* Maple Leaf Foods holds a Board, Chair or Advisory position.
Profiling Our Partnerships
Animal Health Canada (AHC)
Maple Leaf Foods is taking a leading role in championing Animal Health Canada (AHC) as a proposed public-private partnership to strengthen animal health risk management and protect the viability of the livestock, meat and dairy industries in Canada.
Animal Health Canada takes a holistic, results-driven governance approach towards ensuring the health and wellbeing of Canada’s farmed animals, particularly by better protecting against foreign and production-limiting diseases. AHC would provide a collaborative space for government, industry and the veterinary profession to share information and resources to deliver animal health strategies and implement effective animal disease prevention, preparedness, response and recovery programming. AHC would strengthen Canada’s efforts to protect against zoonotic diseases that can spread from animals to people.
To learn more, visit Animal Health Canada.
Food Allergy Canada (FAC)
Working together, Food Allergy Canada (FAC), Université Laval and Maple Leaf Foods are leading a project on “Creating Food Safety Practices for Allergen Risk Management & Precautionary Allergen Labeling.” The goals of the project are to develop common allergen management guidelines using a risk-based approach, guidance on the application of precautionary allergen labeling (PAL) and a broader understanding on the use of food allergen thresholds as a component of an overall allergen risk management plan. PAL is currently at the discretion of the manufacturer, is voluntary and is not regulated by Health Canada. Additionally, there are no specific Canadian allergen management guidelines used consistently across the food industry. Ultimately, by applying results of the research, allergenic consumers will have greater confidence in how PAL is applied by manufacturers, and PAL will be considered a meaningful tool to protect against potential allergen risks.
To learn more, visit Food Allergy Canada.
Plant-Based Foods of Canada
Plant-Based Foods of Canada (PBFC) is a division of Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC). The members of PBFC, including the Greenleaf Foods subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods, provide choice for Canadian consumers as they look to include more plant-based protein options in their diets. PBFC works to educate consumers, government and industry partners about the nutritional and sustainability benefits of plant-based foods, consistent with the goals of Canada’s Food Guide. Maple Leaf is supporting the organization’s advocacy to modernize Health Canada’s standards and labeling requirements for meat alternatives, update protein quality methodology, and advance consumer research and certification of plant-based foods. PBFC recently completed research on how best to merchandise plant-based foods through consistent store placement, helping both vegetarians/vegans and “flexitarians” find their preferred food items.
To learn more, visit Plant-Based Foods of Canada.