Joe McMahan. Photography courtesy Maple Leaf Foods
“There are global challenges that we all have to undertake together, but it can be overwhelming on where to get started. So, we decided to start Little Changes Day as an annual event,” says Joe McMahan, vice president, sustainability and shared value at Maple Leaf Foods. “It’s an opportunity to engage Canadians and their families on the little things they can do to make a difference, and to make it fun and to tell a story around it.”
The fun part, he adds, is unique because “we’re not saying, ‘you need to live these very bare, austere, minimalist lifestyles.’ We’re saying, ‘here’s some little things that can really make a difference that you may not have thought of.’”
Maple Leaf Foods plans to keep Little Changes Day going for years to come. “Our journey is to be the most sustainable protein company on Earth, but we believe firmly that it’s not just about what you can do within your four walls. It’s a monumental global effort,” says McMahan. “And so, the more that we can reach out, the more that we can educate, the more that we can collaborate, the better off we all are.”
While things like turning off the TV may be a drop in the climate-change bucket, Little Changes Day is part of Maple Leaf’s broader commitment to environmental sustainability. The journey started several years ago, with the company’s ambition to become “the most sustainable protein company in the world,” with efforts in areas like nutrition and health, animal welfare, waste and emissions.
READ: Maple Leaf pushes forward with sustainability strategy
One new way the company is reducing its carbon footprint is through regenerative agriculture. In its Integrated Report 2022, Maple Leaf Foods explains regenerative agriculture as “a set of farming principles and practices that regenerate the land, capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil, increase biodiversity, improve soil health, boost farmer livelihoods and enhance landscape resilience.”