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The 2022 sustainability report from McCain Foods highlighted initiatives to support regenerative agriculture. The producer of potato goods monitored developments in farming and water use while highlighting scope 3 CO2 emissions as an area that requires further focus.
McCain pledged in 2021 to adopt regenerative farming methods on all of their potato land by 2030. The McCain Regenerative Agriculture Framework, which provides a roadmap for development and a manual for farmers to assist the implementation of regenerative methods, was released last year. As part of its larger Farm of the Future effort, which also includes a location in Canada, the business launched Farm of the Future Africa in June. Through this project, McCain is able to test out sustainable methods, approaches, and technology that could eventually be applied throughout its larger grower network.
Nearly 40% of the company’s total global potato production is cultivated in areas with moderate to severe water stress. The paper states that the continuous drip irrigation implementation contributed to an 11% increase in water use efficiency in certain water-stressed regions in 2022. Additionally, the corporation exceeded its target of using 20% more potato types resistant to water stress. In 2022, a fifth of the McCain potato crops were water-stress tolerant, an increase of 4% from the baseline year of 2017.
Despite having one of the lowest carbon footprints of any food category overall, the company stated it will need to increase its efforts if it is to accomplish its target of lowering on-farm emissions by 25% by 2030. The research states that reaching the objective will depend on finding solutions for fertiliser production and transportation, which together account for 38% of the company’s on-farm carbon footprint.
The business is making efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions outside of the farm as well. It decreased scope 1 and scope 2 CO2 emissions in 2022 by 6% compared to levels in 2017. Additionally, a transition to cleaner energy sources and a 6% increase in energy efficiency led to a 17% drop in emissions intensity.
By 2030, the corporation promises to reduce scope 3 emissions by 30% in intensity. Indirect emissions, or scope 3 emissions, are those that result from business operations but are not created by the business. The standardisation of scope 3 emissions data collection was identified in the study as a top priority for 2023, drawing attention to the severe difficulties McCain has encountered in obtaining trustworthy data from suppliers.
“The escalating climate and nature crises illustrate the fragility of our global food system with wide-reaching impact on consumers, growers, the land and communities,” said Max Koeune, president and chief executive officer of McCain Foods. “We believe agriculture can and must be transformed to safeguard our future and we are encouraged by the progress we are seeing in our sustainability journey. While much work remains, we are determined to continue to advance on our commitments.”