As part of the Lessons from Sustainability Leaders blog series, Tim Faveri, vice-president of sustainability and shared value at Maple Leaf Foods, explores some of the challenges facing CPG manufacturers and retailers in Canada today. Faveri emphasizes collaboration as a key strategy to overcoming these challenges.
What are some of the biggest challenges in sustainability faced by Maple Leaf Foods and the CPG industry today?
The food industry is inextricably linked to almost every environmental issue we face as a society: food insecurity, water consumption and climate change to name a few. Food waste is key issue for our industry and something we are working hard to address. Through a relatively new advisory group funded in part by the Federal Government and Walmart Foundation, various food banks, NGOs and industry partners are working with researchers to try and quantify food waste across Canada. It’s the first and most critical step to help us tackle the issue.
How has collaboration helped inspire change and move your sustainability goals forward?
As one of the largest farm to fork suppliers to grocery retailers in Canada, Maple Leaf Foods has the scale and influence to help make the supply chain more sustainable. We have been working with the industry at large to streamline our operations and reduce food waste, while making better use of scarce resources. To illustrate – as part of our sustainably strategy we’ve identified ways to divert packaged meat waste to bio-digesters for the generation of electricity. We have been working with Stormfisher Environmental, which owns and operates a 2.85 MW biogas facility in London, Ontario. The facility can convert up to 100,000 tonnes of organic waste each year into renewable energy and organic-based fertilizer.
How does industry collaboration factor in to your overarching sustainability strategy?
With food waste and insecurity in mind, our industry is bound by a shared responsibility: to work together to make positive changes to the supply chain. Establishing a circular vs. linear economy, reducing overall energy consumption and decarbonizing the supply chain are goals our industry shares and we need to work collaboratively to make change. The Leaders in Sustainable Thinking initiative, for example, is a valuable tool for this purpose. It is critical that companies inspire and learn from one another. It’s equally important we impart this information on the younger generation of leaders who will be the catalysts for future change.
This post is part of Kruger Product’s and Canadian Grocer’s Leaders in Sustainable Thinking (LIST) initiative. Since 2012, LIST has been bringing together industry professionals to share knowledge and troubleshoot sustainability hurdles. It is the only sustainability-focused thought leadership initiative of its kind focused on the grocery supply chain in Canada.