Dawn Meats is to spend €100m on targeting net zero operational emissions across the business by 2040, and work towards a net zero supply chain as soon as possible.

An initial €100m investment across four key areas - environment, farming, food and society - will support the delivery of these targets.

By 2030 the meat processor is aiming to reduce its scope one and two emissions (emissions that are owned or controlled by the company) by 59%. It aims to do this through investment in new technology to transform plant infrastructure, transport, thermal energy generation and refrigeration systems.

Scope three emissions are a consequence of the activities of a company but occur from sources not owned or controlled by it. Dawn said its scope three supply chain target will be increased to align with the goal of keeping the global increase in temperature below 1.5°C. This will put the company on a net zero trajectory, it said.

QA cattle and sheep

Ongoing supplier engagement to reduce emissions and improve farm efficiencies will continue via innovative farming projects and knowledge sharing events, it said.

The company will continue to enhance production efficiencies, improve carcase utilisation and derive greater value from its livestock products, which will further reduce emissions intensity.

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

Currently Dawn Meats’ throughput in Ireland is made up of 96% quality-assured beef and 81% quality-assured sheep. In the UK, 99% of its cattle and 97% of its sheep come from Red Tractor approved farms.

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, added that the company has “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 three emissions in a meaningful way. These are emissions which are among the most difficult to combat, but industry collaboration is vital in working toward net zero.”