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Dawn Meats to invest €100 million in Net Zero climate commitment

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Dawn Meats to invest €100 million in Net Zero climate commitment

Dawn Meats to invest €100 million in Net Zero climate commitment
December 08
09:39 2022
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Dawn Meats has announced a substantial new plan which will see the Irish meat processor target Net Zero operational emissions across the business by 2040, and work towards a Net Zero supply chain as soon as possible. An initial €100 million investment across four key areas: environment, farming, food and society will support the delivery of these Net Zero targets. This approach takes account of the entire supply chain across Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions while also aligning to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2040 Net Zero commitment will be structured with a supporting near-term goal. By 2030 Dawn Meats is aiming to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 59%, through investment in new technology to transform plant infrastructure, transport, thermal energy generation and refrigeration systems,

The Scope 3 supply chain target ambition will be increased to align with 1.5°C, placing the company on a net zero trajectory. Ongoing supplier engagement to reduce emissions and improve farm efficiencies will continue via innovative farming projects and knowledge sharing events. The company will continue to enhance production efficiencies, improve carcase utilisation and derive greater value from their livestock products, which will further reduce emissions intensity.

Other targets include ensuring 100% of their plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable and sourcing 100% of their cattle and sheep from Bord Bia assured farms in Ireland, and Red Tractor assured farms in the United Kingdom.

Plan Four Zero is the culmination of years of significant work Dawn Meats has undertaken to understand and combat emissions in the agriculture and food processing industry. The comapany was the first European beef and lamb processor to set science-based targets and measure its progress on externally verified sustainability goals.

The group’s most recent sustainability report highlighted a 248,000-tonne reduction in greenhouse gases from its operations and supply chain in 2020, while on-farm Scope 3 emissions reduced by 189,000t. For the year ending 2021, the Group achieved a 40% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions and a 15% reduction in Scope 3 emissions intensity.

Niall Browne, CEO of Dawn Meats and Dunbia, said: “Addressing climate change is one of the key challenges of our time. Dawn Meats has an opportunity to continue to positively impact the supply chain as well as our communities and environment, and a commitment to achieving net zero operational emissions by 2040 is a goal which is the culmination of significant progress to date. Our leadership and wider team across Ireland and the UK are fully focused on delivering this goal and while we are proud of our achievements to date, we recognise there is much still to do.”

Gill Higgins, Group Sustainability Director at Dawn Meats and Dunbia, said: “We have consistently set ambitious targets when it comes to addressing climate change, which is necessary to face the enormous challenge in front of us. Through working with our primary producers and wider supply chain partners on innovative approaches to food production and packaging we have an opportunity to address Scope 3 emissions in a meaningful way. These are emissions which are amongst the most difficult to combat, but industry collaboration is vital in working toward Net Zero.”

Dawn Meats is working collaboratively with farmers across two demonstration farms in Ireland to investigate the best ways of producing sustainable, high-quality meat. At Newford Farm in Athenry research and development on sustainable suckler beef production is supported by Teagasc and McDonald’s. Since the farm’s opening in 2015 over 8,000 farmers have visited Newford and gained insights into sustainable beef production.

In 2022, in partnership with Teagasc and Shinagh Estates, Dawn Meats established a Dairy Calf to Beef Demonstration Farm, building on the learnings from multiple calf to beef projects undertaken between Teagasc and Dawn Meats since 2008. The farm consists of 112 ha of grazing infrastructure and slatted floor housing, which will allow the dairy calf to beef unit to take all sourced calves and finish to the required livestock specification, meeting market requirements. Newford and Ballyvadin Farms are participating in the Signpost Farms initiative run by Teagasc.

Dawn Meats is the supplier of choice to a range of leading supermarket, foodservice and restaurant businesses, exporting to more than 50 countries. As a family-owned business Dawn Meats remains true to its farming heritage through the close relationships it has forged with over 30,000 Irish and British farmers from whom it directly sources grass-fed cattle and lamb for processing at its 10 Irish and 12 UK sites.

Dawn Meats was established in County Waterford, Ireland in 1980, and has grown to a business with over €2 billion in annual revenue, employing over 8,000 staff in twelve countries. Dawn Meats took full control of Dunbia in July 2020, following the successful joint venture that had been established in May 2017. The combined businesses in the UK and Ireland process approximately 1 million cattle and 3 million sheep annually.

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