Dawn Meats targets net zero by 2040 with €100m investment

Company says it will work in-house and with suppliers to cut emissions

Waterford-based Dawn Meats has announced a €100 million plan aiming for net zero operational emissions across its business by 2040, and working towards a net zero supply chain as soon as possible.

The initial investment will concentrate on four key areas – environment, farming, food and society – with a near-term goal of reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 59 per cent by 2030 through investment in new technology for the plant infrastructure, transport, thermal energy generation and refrigeration systems.

Scope 1 emissions are those caused by the company while Scope 2 covers the emissions produced in generating the energy that it uses. A further measure, Scope 3, covers emissions produced not by the company but by those up and down its value chain, such as suppliers and stockists of its products.

The company says it will engage with suppliers to reduce emissions and improve farm efficiencies through innovative farming projects and knowledge-sharing events, while also enhancing production efficiencies, and deriving greater value from livestock products to further reduce emissions intensity.


“Addressing climate change is one of the key challenges of our time. Dawn Meats has an opportunity to continue to positively impact the supply chain as well as our communities and environment, and a commitment to achieving net zero operational emissions by 2040 is a goal, which is the culmination of significant progress to date,” said Niall Browne, chief executive of Dawn Meats and its UK subsidiary, Dunbia. “Our leadership and wider team across Ireland and the UK are fully focused on delivering this goal and while we are proud of our achievements to date, we recognise there is much still to do.”

Among other targets is ensuring that 100 per cent of plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable, along with sourcing all cattle and sheep from Bord Bia assured farms in Ireland, and Red Tractor-assured farms in the UK.

In its most recent sustainability report, the group highlighted a 248,000 tonne reduction in greenhouse gases from its operations and supply chain in 2020, and a 189,000 tonne reduction in on-farm Scope 3 emissions. In 2021 the group cut Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 40 per cent and Scope 3 emissions intensity by 15 per cent.

“We have consistently set ambitious targets when it comes to addressing climate change, which is necessary to face the enormous challenge in front of us,” said Gill Higgins, group sustainability director at Dawn Meats and Dunbia.

“Through working with our primary producers and wider supply chain partners on innovative approaches to food production and packaging we have an opportunity to address Scope 3 emissions in a meaningful way. These are emissions which are amongst the most difficult to combat, but industry collaboration is vital in working toward net zero.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist