Net carbon zero, and beyond.

We have a relentless mission to increase our sustainability at Waitoa, and we’ve already achieved Toitū netcarbonzero certification. Doing so required us to measure our CO₂ emissions, develop a plan to reduce them and begin by offsetting current emission levels. As we cut them further and further, we offset less. The certification means we’re net carbon zero at every stage, from growing feed, transport and production, right through to the energy used for you to cook your Waitoa chicken and do the dishes after. And achieving it is just one step on our journey to drive down emissions and become truly sustainable.

Chicken, the low-carbon champion

It often surprises people to learn just how carbon-efficient chicken is as a source of protein. It’s actually one of the lowest of all in terms of CO₂ emissions per kilogram. And at Waitoa we’re on a path to do even more, working towards Science Based Targets (SBTs) that will cut our emissions in line with the Paris Agreement and helping us on our net carbon zero journey. Consider all the sustainable ways that Waitoa chicken is produced and it’s a choice you can feel really good about.

Continually improving

Our pioneering spirit means we’re never content to sit on our laurels, especially when it comes to sustainability. So, as well as aiming for a reduction of more than a third* of our CO₂ emissions by 2030, we are focused on improving sustainability in every aspect of our business. Reducing energy use at our sites, reducing waste to landfill, capturing and using waste heat at our main site, implementing evermore efficient farming practices, understanding our water footprint and optimising water usage. These are just some of the ways we’re striving to minimise our environmental footprint. We are also part of the global Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) focused on a sustainable, thriving and resilient agricultural sector that protects the Earth’s resources, human rights and animal welfare.

*The exact reduction targets will be validated using the Science Based Targets initiative methodology

Every step of the net carbon zero journey matters

It’s not enough to focus merely on the way chickens are raised, or processed, or the transportation. Being truly sustainable means taking every aspect into account and our Toitū netcarbonzero certification does just that, measuring the impact, evaluating what’s best to reduce it, then implementing and tracking the improvement. It also extends to the suppliers we work with, ensuring their practices meet our standards and partnering with them to improve their sustainability. Our approach to sustainability is holistic, because nothing less is good enough.

Being sustainable pays off

Using less water, energy and other resources is the right thing to do. Sound environmental practices mean we’re creating a more sustainable future for generations to come.

Less is more

We go about reducing our environmental footprint via a six-step plan. We start by looking at what we can avoid using, then we go about reducing, reusing and recycling resources across our operations. We also include recovery of resources wherever possible, for example in the way we capture and use waste heat in our processing plant. Only then do we dispose of anything that we simply cannot make use of, but not before we examine how we might be able to change that in future.

Diverting 90% of solid waste from landfill

Through effective separation of waste materials we’ve managed to divert 90% of what would otherwise be solid waste away from landfill, to be reused or recycled. It’s a key area we monitor throughout the year and we set new targets annually.

There’s still a way to go

However much we have achieved, however much we are doing now, there’s always more we can do on our path to improving sustainability. It’s hugely rewarding to keep finding ways we can reduce an impact here or make something more efficient there. And the ultimate reward is knowing we’re always doing better by the planet.

Water is a precious resource

Clean, fresh water is essential to life yet it’s incredibly rare. Of all the water on earth, less than 4% is fresh. And only a small fraction of that is sufficiently pure to drink, swim in or sustain life. So we never take the water we use for granted.

Looking after the water around us

Taking care of the water starts with taking care of the land around us. We have helped to restore native bush including waterside planting. This gives the best protection possible from run-off, sedimentation or other sources of contamination that might get into the waterways. At our main site we source water from our own bore, reducing our demand on the town’s water supply. We have installed a transfer system that captures the water’s geothermal heat to preheat the water used for cleaning, reducing our energy consumption.

An all-encompassing commitment

The preciousness of clean water to us is such that we have been a member of the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Global Standard since 2017. As well as caring for our catchment area, we proactively manage our water usage and treatment of wastewater. It’s how we continue to set the industry benchmark for water stewardship, being the only AWS certified poultry processor in the world.

Food safety remains priority one

Throughout the food industry, safety has to be the number one priority at every stage, and it’s crucial to the way we do everything at Waitoa. Plastic plays a key role in keeping the chicken fresh and reducing food waste. Our aim is to use it where it makes sense and educate people on their role. We're always looking for ways to improve.

A key target

We’ve set ourselves a target of 100% reusable, recyclable or home-compostable packaging by 2025. We’ve already achieved over 90% and the push is on to reach our goal. We’re also targeting 50% of our packaging to come from recycled content by the same date, a figure that currently sits at just over 25%.

Exemplary stewardship

We use every tool available in our stewardship of waste and plastics. Our packs feature the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) to help you understand how to recycle our packaging. We're committed to meeting or exceeding the standards set by the Waste Minimisation Act, including the rules around product stewardship.