Sustainability update shows Dawn Meats saved 885 tonnes of plastic

Sustainability update shows Dawn Meats saved 885 tonnes of plastic

Dawn Meats has announced that it has saved 885 tonnes of plastic in the last two years as part of a 15% reduction in plastic use across its rigid trays, films and flexibles used for retail packaging.

Niall Browne, CEO of Dawn Meats with Gill Higgins, sustainability director at Dawn Meats.

A new sustainability update has been released by Dawn Meats, showing that the meat processor has achieved a reduction of 49% in location-based scope 1 and 2 emissions and 15% in scope 3 emissions intensity. Overall, the company stated that it has achieved a 9.6% reduction in total emissions.

Dawn Meats also said it is now powering all of its sites using 100% renewable electricity and recycling and reusing 51% of all waste, excluding that which is sent for energy generation.

The update covers the period from January 2021 to June 2023 and charts the company’s progress in delivering on its €100 million-plus Plan Four Zero sustainability strategy, which includes a target of reducing scope 1 and scope 2 absolute emissions by 59% by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2040.

The progress includes a 49% reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions from 2016 to 2022 through a range of measures and a reduction in total emissions of 9.6% over the same time period.

Some of the measures taken to achieve these reductions include:

  • Procuring 100% of electricity requirements across all sites in the UK and Ireland from renewable sources
  • Progressing towards on-site renewable energy generation, including solar and wind
  • Upgrading refrigeration systems and reducing fugitive (leaked) emissions
  • Upgrading equipment and boilers to burn lower carbon fuels
  • Switching to renewable sources of thermal energy generation to heat water and renewable sources of heat recovery such as heat pumps
  • Employing lean management principles in daily operations.

Dawn Meats also said it has achieved a 15% reduction in plastic use across its rigid trays, films and flexibles, amounting to a total saving of 885 tonnes of plastic. The total packaging solutions delivered to date are now expected to result in future plastic savings of in excess of 800 tonnes a year.

The figure is equivalent to about 100 million plastic carrier bags and the company’s new plastic reduction measures will ultimately save a total of over 800 tonnes a year.

The company initiated a project to deliver a new vacuum packaging solution for mince, which uses 55% less plastic and increases product shelf life by 25% thus helping to reduce food waste.

Niall Browne, chief executive of Dawn Meats, said: “At Dawn Meats and Dunbia, we recognise that our future relies upon the health of our natural world and the wellbeing of our communities. Sustainability has been central to our business plan for over 40 years, and we collaborate with others to reach shared goals.

“We also recognise that achieving our targets requires real action, which is why we have committed €100 million by 2030 as part of our Plan Four Zero initiative. Getting to net zero involves big changes within our business and transformation across our supply chain. This progress report shows just how committed we are to implementing the wide-ranging and advanced measures required to allow us do this.”

Reducing emissions

The company’s target is to reduce scope 3 emissions intensity by 28% per tonne of finished product by 2030 with a plan to reach Net Zero by 2050. This target relates to emissions from the sourcing of live cattle and sheep from 40,000 regular farmer suppliers across Ireland and the UK, and other meat products, both of which account for 70% of Dawn Meats’ total emissions.

From 2016 to 2022, the company has achieved a 15% reduction in scope 3 emissions intensity mainly due to a reduction in the average carbon footprint on the assured farms that supply products to Dawn Meats.

Through Farm Green, Dawn Meats’ supplier engagement initiative, the company shares learnings with its suppliers using video, webinars and case studies. Approximately 500,000 cattle are now in emissions monitoring programmes at any one time, which is 49% of Dawn Meats’ cattle supply. A total of 5,000 farmers have been reached through the company’s knowledge sharing initiatives.

Dawn Meats is also working on building a model to calculate bespoke carbon footprints for its products, including emissions from cradle to factory gate. The UK-based Carbon Trust will verify the model to ensure data quality and credibility.

Gill Higgins, sustainability director at Dawn Meats, said: “At Dawn Meats and Dunbia, we are serious about reaching our ambitious targets and I’m pleased to say we are making real progress in this regard. This update report outlines the wide range and high number of projects we have invested in and the system changes we have introduced.

“These science-based measures have allowed us to achieve a series of important and carefully measured savings on emissions, energy, water usage, packaging and waste. In addition, we are committed to working with the rest of the industry to address wider sustainability challenges and to remain competitive in the marketplace. As we continue to achieve results, we will continue to increase our ambition and our investment.”

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