Silver Fern Farms commits to its course for a sustainable future

08 Jul 2021 11:49 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

Net Carbon Zero Certified* Beef, Regenerative Agriculture and the elimination of coal by 2030; today, Silver Fern Farms has committed to several bold initiatives to drive its vision of being the world’s most successful and sustainable grass-fed red meat company.  

Silver Fern Farms Co-Chair, Rob Hewett, said it was after a significant amount of work and with real satisfaction the company was in the position to make these commitments publicly.

“We have set targets to stretch us, but we are ready for the challenge. If anything, we are committed to investing to accelerate our progress to achieve these significant milestones early.

“Companies face competing pressures to drive decarbonisation, invest to serve the consumer’s future needs and deliver sustainable value to all stakeholders as they seek to forge their own path to address the challenges we collectively face.  

“Today we have announced our path, and in doing so we have committed to a clear vision of who we want to be and how we are going to get there.” 

“Our company’s strong financial performance over recent years and its robust balance sheet underpin our confidence to take these bold steps,” Mr Hewett said.

The key Silver Fern Farms commitments are:

  • Launching its first range of Toitū Net Carbon Zero Certified* Beef in the United States in late 2021
  • Committing to a ‘Regenerative’ future
  • Ending coal use in its processing plants by 2030
  • Joining the International Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) by the end of 2021

Mr Hewett said the announcement was made in front of Silver Fern Farms shareholder-suppliers at its annual farmer conference in Wellington today.

“Silver Fern Farms is committed to supporting our farmers to contribute to these goals, through knowledge transfer and market-led incentives.  This is because we believe there is great opportunity to leverage this leadership position in our markets via our strong brand and customer partnerships,” Mr Hewett said. 

Silver Fern Farms Chief Executive, Simon Limmer, said Silver Fern Farms is committed to going above and beyond the minimum required to protect the environment. 

“We want to embed sustainability into our brand promise. This demands not merely doing less harm, but doing going greater good by ultimately enhancing the eco-systems we operate in.”

“Consumer concerns are increasing with respect to soil health, emissions, biodiversity, agricultural intensity, water quality, and the resilience and sustainability of the current food system.”

“Alongside this, the global regulatory environment and community expectations are demanding that each of these areas are addressed by corporates and producers.”  

“There is only one direction of travel for our industry and Silver Fern Farms wants to be out the front leading,” Mr Limmer said.

Mr Limmer said Silver Fern Farms has shaped its capital investment programme in recent years to support its sustainability goals.  This includes investment in transitioning from using coal to using electricity and biomass, smart lighting, hot water system management and overall water use reduction.

In 2021, Silver Fern Farms will continue that investment, including investing in co-funded projects with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to halve Silver Fern Farms’ coal consumption by 2023 and reduce by two-thirds by 2025. 

“Across our processing plant network there is still significant investment to be made to get all plants to where we want them to be.  This will take time, but the required investment is a key part of our short-to-medium term financial planning.

“Now we have made those commitments our challenge is to keep the momentum going and keep reporting back on progress to all of those with a stake in our progress as we step towards a climate-positive future,” Mr Limmer said.

https://www.silverfernfarms.com/

Below is further detail on each of the commitments announced in the above release. These are provided by way of background to explain the more technical aspects of the commitments and can be used in any media story.

  • Silver Fern Farms is New Zealand’s leading processor and marketer of beef, lamb, mutton, venison and associated products to more than 60 countries.
  • The company’s vision is to become the world’s most successful and sustainable grass-fed red meat company.
  • The company operates processing facilities throughout the country, employing more than 7,000 staff.
  • Key markets in New Zealand, China, North America, the United Kingdom and Europe, Asia, and the Middle East are supported through a network of international offices.
  • Silver Fern Farms Co-Operative Limited and Shanghai Maling own Silver Fern Farms Limited in equal partnership.
  • Silver Fern Farms was the first New Zealand red meat company to:
    • develop a sustainability strategy, launching its Sustainable Chain of Care in 2016, setting aspirational targets across 8 material issues to achieve by 2020.
    • verify its carbon footprint and set an emission reduction target
    • become a member of the Climate Leaders Coalition and the Aotearoa Circle.