Dawn Meats CSR and Sustainability Strategy
Business Type: Beef and Lamb Processor
Location: HQ Waterford (10 manufacturing locations in Ireland, 12 in the UK, and 10 Sales offices in Europe and Asia)
Mission Statement: “providing consistent quality meat products from sustainable sources”
Goal: “to be Europe’s most sustainable meat company”
No. of Employees: 7,000+
Overview of CSR Initiative:
Project team: All the company led by the CEO and the Sustainability Executive.
Resources required: Capital investment, staff time.
Challenges: Scale of the undertaking and maintaining momentum across all parts of the business. Embedding change and making it part of the company culture.
Benefits: resulting in a much more sustainable and resilient business which makes Dawn Meats the partner of choice for key food retailing, food service and manufacturing business in Ireland, Europe and globally.
Outcome: Driving improvements across all aspects of the business, increasing competitiveness and the quality offering.
How was/is this initiative promoted?: Progress is reported through multiple channels including the CSR report, newsletter (internal and external), intranet, yammer, internet, social media, print media, conferences, awards and PR.
Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on CSR 2017-2020 identifies 4 core dimensions of CSR – Environment, Community, Workplace and Marketplace.
• Environment - minimising negative environmental impacts
• Community - interaction with your local community partners and organisations
• Workplace - supporting and engaging with your employees
• Marketplace - interaction with your local community partners and organisations.
Please select the dimension(s) that you apply to your CSR Initiative and why?
Dawn Meats CSR and Sustainability Strategy works across all four dimensions. Dawn Meats Strategy is built across 5 pillars:
Resource management, (which covers emissions, energy, water, waste, biodiversity) and sustainable sourcing aligns with the environment dimension. The People pillar links in with workplace. The community pillar links in with community and sustainable sourcing and food safety, health and nutrition links in with the marketplace dimension.
How has the CSR initiative benefitted your business and demonstrated a win:win in the short-term and/or long-term?
At Dawn Meats, all actions we undertake incorporate a win:win approach as only actions that are win:win can be truly sustainable, because both the company and their stakeholders will be motivated to continue to develop initiatives and engage with the process leading to further benefits.
Reducing energy and water intensity saves money for the company while also reducing emissions and the impact on the local environment. Improving health and safety, and providing more training both improves the working lives of employees and supports increased productivity. Putting measures in place to improve employee engagement improves staff retention through increasing job satisfaction.
Improving animal welfare lowers emissions, improves profitability and improves the environment for livestock for farming families and for the wider community. Sourcing products more sustainably helps to improve many aspects of the supply chain such as the environment, product quality and working conditions, de-risking the sustainability of future supply by protecting the very resources the supply chain relies upon. Food safety, health and nutrition are clearly important for customers and the ultimate consumer and are core to the continuing licence to operate. Supporting communities is also about maintaining the licence to operate by strengthening reputation and ensuring people wish to work for Dawn Meats and supply to Dawn Meats.
Please identify which SDG goal(s) apply to your CSR initiative.
Company initiatives touch across most of the SDG’s. Some examples are as follows:
SDG 2.3 and 2.4: Supporting productivity and resilience in agriculture.
SDG 5.5: Dawn Meats co-chair Bord Bia’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Taskforce and their D&I strategy continues to evolve.
SDG 6.3, 6.4 and 6.6: Many projects target water efficiency, water protection and assist with restoring eco-systems.
SDG 7.2 and 7.3: Projects target energy efficiency and use of renewables
SDG 8.5 and 8.8: Through CSR initiatives such as Open Doors, Dawn Meats are seeking to increase employment opportunities for marginalised groups such as migrants and asylum seekers, people with disabilities and long term youth unemployed.
SDG 12.3: Minimise food waste. No waste (food or otherwise) is sent to landfill.
SDG 13.1 & 13.3: Work in the supply chain looks to improve resilience and adaptive capacity, and collaborative work undertaken is about improving resilience and increasing awareness
SDG 14.1: Working to reduce plastics by volume and increase recyclability and compostability of those plastics used.
SDG 15.4: Biodiversity project focused on improving upland Hen Harrier nesting sites
SDG 17: Dawn Meats are active members of national and international bodies focused on delivering sustainability improvements; The European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability, Courtauld 2025, Irish Government CSR Forum, UK Plastic Pact, BITC Low Carbon and Social Cohesion & Inclusion Leaders Group.
What did you learn from your experience of creating and implementing a CSR initiative?
What advice would you give a business starting on their CSR Journey?
While CSR and sustainability is critical for business continuity, it still requires change, and change can often be challenging. It is critical to have senior level buy in, but equally critical that all levels particularly those which are implementing the initiatives, are given ownership.
CSR is about continuous improvement and it is important to set stretch targets with timelines which are reviewed and revised when progress is made and when external factors require modification. Progress against these targets is reported internally and externally as what gets measured gets managed and what gets reported is managed even more carefully
Case Study provided by Dawn Meats