DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND – Red meat processor and exporter, Silver Fern Farms, announced more initiatives to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability.

Silver Fern’s initiatives include ending coal use in its processing plants by 2030, committing to a ‘regenerative’ future and launch of its first Toitū Net Carbon Zero Certified Beef in the United States in late 2021.

The company also plans to join the International Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) by the end of the year.

Silver Fern’s co-chair, Rob Hewett, said after a significant amount of planning and hard work the company was in the position to make these goals public.

“We have set targets to stretch us, but we are ready for the challenge,” Hewett said. “If anything, we are committed to investing to accelerate our progress to achieve these significant milestones early. Companies face competing pressures to drive decarbonization, 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.”

Hewett also said the company’s strong financial performance in recent years and robust balance sheet allow it take bold steps.

In 2021, Silver Fern Farms will continue that investment, including financing projects with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to cut Silver Fern Farms' coal consumption in half by 2023 and reduce it 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,” said Simon Limmer, chief executive officer of Silver Fern. “This will take time, but the required investment is a key part of our short-to-medium term financial planning. Now that 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.”

Limmer said the company took steps to invest in capital investment programs recently that support the transition from using coal to using electricity and biomass, smart lighting, hot water system management and overall water use reduction.

“We want to embed sustainability into our brand promise,” Limmer explained. “This demands not merely doing less harm, but doing 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.”