The meat industry has been facing increasing challenges over the last several years. The industry has seen a vacancy rate of 20%, 16.2% higher than the vacancy rate of the food and beverage industry as a whole. There continues to be supply chain disruptions from the pandemic. The war on Ukraine has caused geo-political impacts on feed, fertiliser, grain, and energy. And climate impacts, including extreme weather events like heatwaves, droughts, and floods, continue to test the industry’s resiliency.
In a world where meat is often criticised and seen as one of the larger contributors to climate change, it is one of the most exposed and vulnerable to its impacts, especially in terms of public trust. What’s worse is this will only get more critical as climate change accelerates. Ontario Meat and Poultry (MPO) companies are facing a perfect storm of challenges, and when they are under such extreme pressures, adapting their business for the future seems almost impossible.
To support these companies, the Anthesis program provided four of MPO’s medium-sized members with the opportunity to complete a rigorous 18-month program and seventeen of MPO’s micro to small-sized members with the opportunity to complete an in-depth 12-week “bootcamp”. The Meat and Poultry Ontario R-Purpose – Resiliency Through Purpose Program, funded in part through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, addressed the need to bring sustainability, purpose, and circularity into the meat and poultry industry.
All companies that participated in the program utilised a digital KPI Dashboard tool that tracked their baseline performance in several areas – including GHG emissions, energy consumption, water usage, waste reduction, productivity, operation efficiency, employee engagement, food safety non-conformances, sustainable procurement, and percentage circularity, among others.
We took our Anthesis suite of services and applied them in a program format to best address the needs of the meat industry. This included purpose development, materiality assessments, benchmarking, and purpose-driven circular business strategy development, including ESG strategies. Each company followed our activator journey from analytics, to solution, to implementation, to drive performance through environmental efficiencies and good governance.
One of the most pertinent outcomes of the program was the adoption of a purpose-driven circular mindset up and down these organisations. Some of these companies already thought of themselves as values-driven, but after this work they are looking at their businesses differently. They are asking themselves questions like, “What if this waste could be repurposed into something of higher value?” and “What would the efficiency gains in the organisation be if we moved our culture to one that is regenerative?” The employee empowerment through adopting this mindset has also been surprising, but the most scalable in benefit. It is the people in these organisations that are in the facilitates every day, watching the operations and how the business runs, that are going to be able to see the continued opportunities for circularity and bring them to the forefront.
At the end of the program, companies reported achieving higher employee enrolment and engagement, food loss and waste reduction in their operations, identification of baselines on key environmental drivers that they never had in place before, refined business strategies through the lens of purpose and circularity, and engaged customers through strategic communications.