Dawn Meats has announced ambitious 2025 targets to reduce water and energy intensity by 40% and CO2 emission intensity by 50%. The commitments are contained in our first CSR report which also sets out the ambitious goal of becoming Europe’s most sustainable meat company.
Sustainability across the wider business has been prioritised since Dawn Meats published its first sustainability plan in 2009. As one of the first verified members of Origin Green, Dawn Meats has had its sustainability credentials endorsed by many external agencies, and since 2012 annual progress under Origin Green has been independently assessed to the highest international standards.
Commenting on the 2016 CSR report, CEO Niall Browne said, “None of this would be possible without the commitment of our staff. We have a really strong CSR committee at management level, but the buy-in throughout the organisation has been a credit to every member of the team. 2025 is fast approaching, and we will continue to keep a close eye on our targets to ensure that we meet and exceed them where possible.”
Group Head of CSR David O’Flynn commented, “At Dawn Meats we recognise that doing the right thing will build a more robust business for the future which will benefit employees, customers and farmers. Our CSR strategy is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and I am very excited about what we have committed to achieve and we will engage widely to deliver on these objectives.”
Dawn Meats works with 15,000 Irish farmers and 5,000 British farmers, contributing over €550m to local rural economies across Ireland, and €450m across the UK. The CSR report details many of our 2016 achievements.
An example of how Dawn Meats is approaching the sustainability challenge can be found in the progress achieved with our Eco Drive initiative in 2016, which has seen hauliers achieve a reduction of 1m litres of fuel and saving 2,500 tons of CO2. These savings have been achieved collaboratively through an investment by hauliers in training and more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Dawn Meats reputation of innovation in premium meat products continued in 2016 and in this year we launched more than 100 new and innovative value added meat products with major European supermarket chains.
We also focused in 2016 on expanding internal communication – leveraging social media, intranet and bulletin boards, around themes such as the environment, health and well-being and food safety. Employees came together to participate in events such as our dedicated Health Week 2016, with over 900 staff attending health clinics for check-ups. 2016 also saw Dawn Meats donate almost €200,000 to local charities, and its staff volunteered over 2,000 hours to causes which are valued by employees and the communities where they operate.
In keeping with our mission to provide consistent, quality meat products from sustainable sources, we continued to work in 2016 with our partners Teagasc, the Irish Farmers Journal and McDonald’s to progress research into sustainable beef production at the Newford Demonstration Farm in Athenry. The farm showcases beef production utilising natural grass advantage and alternative breeds to deliver appropriate muscle size and shape for modern European consumers.