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Dawn Meats Cuts Science-Based Target Emissions By 248,000 Tonnes In 2020

By Donna Ahern
Dawn Meats Cuts Science-Based Target Emissions By 248,000 Tonnes In 2020

Dawn Meats has cut greenhouse gases from its operations and supply chain by 248,000 tons in 2020 as compared the baseline year of 2016 on which its Science-Based Targets are assessed, according to its latest Group Sustainability Report published today.

The company was the first European beef and lamb processor to set Science-Based Targets and measure its progress on externally verified sustainability goals, committing to a 30% reduction in absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 2030 from a 2016 base year, the meat supplier said.

The reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions of 59,000 COequivalent, has been achieved through a range of measures including the procurement of 100% renewable electricity and site investments in refrigeration upgrades and lower emission thermal energy generation, it added.

Niall Browne, CEO of Dawn Meats, commented, “Dawn Meats continues to move forward in its goal of being Europe’s most sustainable meat company. Progress on our emissions targets is a testament to the work our teams put in on the ground at our 22 processing sites.

"It is only by our staff, suppliers and customers all working together that we are able to achieve the progress we are making," he said.


Energy Intensity

Dawn Meats said it has also achieved a 31% reduction in energy intensity in 2020 and is on target to achieve a 40% reduction by 2025. In real terms, this reduction is the equivalent to powering a town of 20,215 homes per year.

Similar progress on 2025 targets has also been made in terms of water intensity, with a 28% reduction being achieved in 2020, equivalent to 1,225 Olympic sized swimming pools.

Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme

Progress is being made right across the Dawn Meats supply chain, with 96% of livestock sourced from Bord Bia Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme members in Ireland.


Scope 3 on farm emissions across the group have reduced by 189,000 tons COequivalent in 2020.  The commitment to a sustainable supply chain has been further enhanced by improvements in packaging used, with all of Dawn Meats’ rigid plastic trays now having a 90% average recycled content.

Key Achievements

Some of the key achievements outlined in today’s report include:

  • Procuring assured cattle and sheep from an increasing proportion of the group’s 30,000 farmer suppliers, where emissions are now independently measured on more than 40% of farms and where improvements in on-farm efficiencies are being achieved.
  • €1m invested annually in on-farm sustainability projects
  • Retail consumer pack MAP and VSP trays are now made from a plastic material called mono PET, which enables recycling and supports the circular economy.
  • 125,000 meal portions donated to frontline workers and organisations feeding people in need

Gill Higgins, group head of Sustainability at Dawn Meats, said, “Across all aspects of our sustainability strategy, from climate action, environmental management and sustainable sourcing to animal welfare and people and community, we are making improvements that count.


"We have had excellent engagement with our primary producers and community stakeholders, and it is important that we recognise their valued contribution,” she added.

As an example of progress achieved Dawn Meats’ plant in Rathdowney, Co Laois, has contributed water savings equivalent to 27 Olympic-sized swimming pools on an annual basis. The plant has saved 5.6m litres of water per month thanks to a range of initiatives employed.

The installation of water sub meters to monitor usage, real-time reporting of issues through an online platform and the implementation of a ‘True Cost of Water’ metric, which is now being rolled out across the group, all led to significant progress at Rathdowney.

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