Maple Leaf Foods details 2022 financial, sustainability progress

Since 2014, the company reduced antibiotic usage by 99.1% across its owned hog production operations.

May 9, 2023

5 Min Read
Maple Leaf Foods logo.jpg
Maple Leaf Foods

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has released its first annual integrated report, bringing together its 2022 financial and sustainability performance under one umbrella. This approach to reporting more clearly demonstrates the interconnectivity between the company's sustainability initiatives, business strategy and performance, and provides a more holistic view of how sustainability is woven into all aspects of the company's business and commitment to creating shared value over time through strategic action, leadership and transparency.

In his opening Letter to Stakeholders, Maple Leaf Foods' Executive Chair and CEO, Michael McCain, reflects on 2022 and the challenges created by a post-pandemic world characterized by hyper-inflation, supply chain disruptions, labor challenges and the persistent and intensifying climate crisis. 

"These pressures have tested our resilience and challenged our optimism. Yet I remain an optimist – focused on the long-term, grounded in the knowledge that our business fundamentals are strong, and certain of the success we will achieve as we execute our strategy," McCain said. "The United Nations has warned that we are on a path to untold human disaster without rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. We are using our voice and our actions to make a difference."

Sustainability vision
Maple Leaf Foods' vision is to become the most sustainable protein company on earth. This vision is built on four pillars: better food, better care, better communities and a better planet. Against these pillars, the company tracks progress toward achieving its vision, and the goals and milestones set along the way.

Better Food: In 2022, Maple Leaf Foods continued strong food safety performance, grounded in the philosophy that you manage what you measure. Maple Leaf calculates its Food Safety Incident Rate and Quality Incident Rate monthly for every production site based upon well-defined Key Performance Indicators. In 2022, the company exceeded its FSIR target by 42% and QIR target by 36%. These results reflect the dedication and commitment of team members to the Maple Leaf Foods Safety Promise. 

The company also developed a Sanitation Incident Reporting metric to measure the effectiveness of sanitation programs and practices. By the end of 2022, company-wide SIR performance improved by 17% from the previous year and by 69% from the 2019 baseline. In addition, the company's largest prepared meats plant, located in Hamilton, Ontario, was named Site of the Year for the Americas by Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standards, a globally respected, food safety and quality standard-setting body. This honor validated the team's hard-fought journey to achieve the highest levels of food safety performance.

Better Care: Maple Leaf Foods is deeply committed to reducing the use of antibiotics in its animals while ensuring animals receive treatment when needed to protect their welfare. In 2022, antibiotic use in the pigs Maple Leaf raises continued trending downward. Since 2014, the company reduced antibiotic usage by 99.1% across its owned hog production operations. 

The opening of Maple Leaf's new, state-of-the-art London poultry plant in London, Ontario, ushered in a new host of animal welfare enhancements, including expanded use of controlled atmosphere stunning, new environmentally protected lairage for chickens and special blue lights that have a calming effect on birds.

Better Communities: Maple Leaf Foods is deeply committed to reducing food insecurity in Canada. The Maple Leaf Centre for Food Security, set a bold goal to reduce food insecurity in Canada by half by 2030 and is advancing this goal by advocating systemic solutions through the Maple Leaf Centre for Food Security. Over the last six years, the center forged deep relationships with thought leaders in the food security sector and has committed over $10.5 million to 27 initiatives that span coast-to-coast. The center also conducts awareness-raising activities to engage Canadians and drive social change and impact.

In 2017, Maple Leaf Foods set a target to achieve 50/50 gender balance in managerial roles within five years. By the end of 2022, women held 39% of manager and above-level roles. While this was short of the 50% target, 39% of managerial roles were filled by women, and Maple Leaf Foods is committed to striving for further progress.

Caring for people, including ensuring their safety and well-being, is a key priority at Maple Leaf Foods. The company has achieved world-class OHS performance for the past five years across manufacturing in North America compared to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2022, the company achieved a Total Recordable Incident Rate of 0.40 – a 93.6% improvement since its 2012 baseline reporting year and has had zero fatalities for over a decade. Mental health is also a priority for Maple Leaf Foods, and through 2022, the company continued to build on the combination of training, awareness, programs and benefits that are offered to team members. The company was recognized by TalentEgg with a "Best Contribution to Mental Health in the Workplace" award. 

Better Planet: In 2022, Maple Leaf's environmental performance largely plateaued due to several factors that were exacerbated by the post-pandemic environment and the commissioning and start-up of four new facilities/expansions located in Ontario, Manitoba and Indiana that consumed utilities without producing products, which skewed intensity performance. An operational excellence team has been deployed to focus on reduction and optimization opportunities, and to explore high-impact greenhouse gas reduction technologies that have the potential to significantly accelerate progress towards company goals.

This year, Maple Leaf Foods continued its partnership with Nutrien to work with farmers who provide feed for its animals to implement regenerative agriculture practices on their farms. The farmland acreage under this program increased from 20,000 acres in 2021 to 100,000 acres in 2022. Maple Leaf Foods sees regenerative agriculture as a sustainable, nature-based solution to reduce the environmental impact within its supply chain, improve biodiversity and soil health, boost farmer livelihood and enhance landscape resilience. This is a priority area for Maple Leaf to continue developing and plays an important role in selecting meaningful, credible greenhouse gas reduction opportunities as part of the company's overall strategy.

This year, Maple Leaf Foods significantly reduced the amount of packaging it uses and made plastic packaging more recyclable without compromising food safety. The company is also incorporating post-consumer recycled content into its packaging. Maple Leaf Foods successfully achieved recyclability and PCR content in 100% of products made at its new London fresh poultry facility which come in a 100% recyclable, clear trays made with 95% post-consumer recycled content. In addition, 100% recyclable trays made with 95% post-consumer recycled content are used for Maple Leaf Prime Organic Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, Lightlife Plant-based Burger and Greenfield Fresh Pork. The company also uses 100% recyclable trays for Schneiders Grab N' Snack Lunch Kits and Schneiders Artisanal Charcuterie Board.

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