In The Wash
Maple leaf carbon neutral
Maple Leaf, a major animal protein company based in Canada, applauds itself for being the first ‘carbon neutral’ food company. However, this claim masks the reality of a large, and growing, animal protein company.
Whilst they do highlight specifically that their steps towards being ‘carbon neutral’ involve emissions reductions from their core business such as energy and transport emissions, these are often very basic efficiency savings like reusing delivery pallets which, whilst beneficial, do not constitute carbon neutrality.
For the rest they rely on offsetting but do not disclose the amount required. The projects they fund are mostly renewable energy or energy efficiency solutions and it is unclear if Maple Leaf can prove that the emissions prevented through the projects wouldn’t have happened without their funding (proving ‘additionality’ – that emissions saved or prevented are additional to what would have happened anyway, is a key criteria of offsetting).
In terms of emissions from the animal farming itself (which are scope 3 emissions, those not directly owned by the company), Maple Leaf claims to only offset a ‘portion’ of these, without further details. Across all aspects of the business, including within their supply chain, their emissions increased between 2019 and 2021. In 2021 there was a 6% supply chain emissions increase on the base year. Maple Leaf are taking one step forwards and five steps back.