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Meaty business

Dawn Meats has released its latest sustainability report, Plan Four Zero, and results from the meat processor are impressive. Irishfood reports on some of the top line results


The company has produced a new vacuum-packaging solution for mince that uses 55 per cent less plastic and increases product shelf life by 25 per cent, helping to reduce food waste. It has set itself a target of using an average of 30 per cent recycled content across all plastic by 2025. According to the report, all rigid trays currently used now have a recycled content of over 50 per cent and all the film lids used on modified atmosphere packaging now have 30 per cent recycled content. Dawn Meats is working with packaging suppliers to develop a similar solution for vacuum packaging film. In the UK, plastic liners used by Dunbia contain 30 per cent recycled film and the company is in the process of introducing the same type of film for pallet wrapping. 



The company’s target is to reduce Scope 3 emissions intensity by 28 per cent per tonne of finished product by 2030, with the goal of reaching 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 per cent of Dawn Meats’ total emissions. 

From 2016 to 2022, the company has achieved a 15 per cent 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.  

In Ireland, Bord Bia [Irish Food Board] calculates the carbon footprint for over 96 per cent of the company’s Irish cattle suppliers who are members of the Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme. Large-scale farm footprint data production is not in place in the UK, so Dunbia is working with Promar, a consultancy, to measure emissions from 200 lamb farms and 300 beef farms. Farmers receive a feedback report outlining their emissions hotspots and are recommended actions that they can take to bring emissions down. Farm carbon footprints are repeated every 18-24 months to monitor progress.

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 per cent of Dawn Meats’ cattle supply. A total of 5,000 farmers have been reached through the company’s knowledge-sharing initiatives.

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