Dawn Meats Group

Membership approved until 1st May 2018

Business Background


Product Range
Breed specific brands – black Angus beef, red Hereford beef, speciality supply chain brands – nature's meadow lamb, premium butcher, dry aged beef and lamb, frozen and IQF mince, diced and burgers, chilled and frozen slow cooked meal centres and ready meals and ambient ready-to-eat meat snacks.

Specialists In
Producing bone in and boneless beef, lamb and burger patties. Dawn Meats provides ready-to-heat meal solutions and on-the-go meat snacks in frozen, chilled, or fully cooked formats.

Established in Co. Waterford in 1980, Dawn Meats is a family business that remains true to its farming heritage.

With a continuous focus on quality and customer service, the company has grown to become the meat supplier of choice to a range of leading supermarkets, foodservice and manufacturing businesses.

Operating from over 25 locations in Europe and Asia, Dawn Meats’ customer base now spans 47 countries worldwide.

Key Sustainability Commitments

Raw Material Sourcing

  • Source cattle from Quality Assured holdings.
  • Develop a sustainable procurement policy (implemented in 2016).

Manufacturing Processes

  • 40% reduction in energy and water intensity by 2020.
  • 50% reduction carbon intensity by 2020.
  • Achieve zero waste to landfill (completed).
  • Adopt biodiversity improvements on all sites.

Social Sustainability

  • Enhance transparency by publishing a CSR report.
  • Promote health benefits of red meat as part of a healthy diet.
  • Run week long employee engagement events dedicated to health and well being, food safety and the environment.
  • Supporting community and charity events.

Unique Selling Points

Dawn Meats sales offices and distribution partners – throughout Europe and globally – offer closer relationships with all customers and provide logistics solutions in keeping with customer requirements.

Customers are attracted by its commitment to quality and sustainability.

Awards & Accreditations

  • Great Taste Producer Awards 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Green Large Organisation of the Year and The Sustainable Supply Chain Achievement Award – Green Awards 2016
  • Most Innovation Company Award 2016
  • Chambers Ireland Winner CSR Award 2016
  • Best Pork/Pigmeat Product – Meat Management Awards 2016
  • National Champion – European Business Awards 2016, 2017
  • Best Beef Product and Best Ready Meal – Supermeat & Fish Awards 2016
  • Bord Bia Quality Assurance
  • BRC
  • ISO 14001
  • ISO 50001
  • SWA

Dawn Meats’ Sustainability Journey

Case Study

About the Company

Dawn Meats is a family business that remains true to its farming heritage and was established in
1980 in Co. Waterford. Since then Dawn Meats has evolved to become a highly integrated
production, sales, marketing and distribution operation with a clear focus on quality meat products
for some of the most discerning customers in over 40 countries worldwide. Dawn Meats employs in
excess of 2700 employees in Ireland and abroad.

Dawn Meats supplies an extensive portfolio of meat products ranging from carcasses and primal
cuts to value-added raw and cooked products to Irish and international customers. The company
guarantees complete traceability along the supply chain from „farm to fork‟, ensuring production to
the highest standards.

Business success is achieved by producing safe and consistent high quality products to meet and
exceed its customers‟ expectations, and through continuous investment in new product
development. Dawn Meats acknowledges the important role that agriculture, animal welfare, the
environment and its staff play in accomplishing this.

Origin Green Membership

Sustainable practices are fundamental to the Dawn Meats business ethos. Sustainability provides
environmental, social and economic benefits, not only for the company itself, but also to its supply
chain, to the local community and to the global environment in which it operates. As part of the
agriculture chain the company considers itself and its partners as custodians of the future.

Dawn Meats is leading numerous initiatives, which seek to support the environmental and
commercial sustainability of agriculture. In the last number of years it has focused attention on a
variety of different projects aimed at strengthening sustainable agriculture, production and
distribution by encouraging discussion of best practice and sharing of information between various
stakeholders. Initiatives range from strengthening the farmer supplier base (e.g. Better Farms and
Dairy Beef Club), community projects (such as involvement in Harvest Food Festival, agricultural
shows and local non-profit organisations), to large-scale investments in innovative technologies
that reduce carbon footprint, energy and water usage. Key accomplishments in the area of
resource efficiency include the installation of solar and wind turbine powered external lighting, use
of reed beds as a low carbon alternative to effluent treatment, ambient air chilling and the use of
recovered heat for waste streams.

Dawn Meats sustainability programme has been recognised on a national level, through the Green
Awards, Chambers Ireland’s CSR Awards and the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI)
Awards and on an international level through the Footprint Awards, 2degrees Awards, Green Apple
Awards and Sustainability Leadership Awards.

Dawn Meats strong sustainability focus prompted it to sign up to Bord Bia’s Origin Green
programme. Since the company had already incorporated sustainability into its mission statement,
and due to the presence of a sustainability plan, the membership process was even more
straightforward. From initial expression of interest to becoming a verified member of the Origin
Green campaign took less than four months.

In the company’s sustainability charter, submitted as part of the Origin Green membership process,
measurable sustainability goals are outlined in the areas of energy, water and emissions for a ten year
period using a 2010 baseline. Progress against these commitments is communicated
regularly to Bord Bia, and is subject to ongoing verification by external parties appointed by Bord
Bia. The purpose of this verification is to maintain the integrity of the sustainability charter and to
ensure that it delivers value to existing and potential customers of the Irish food and drink industry.

Key Strategic Objectives

In its sustainability charter Dawn Meats declares a commitment to making business decisions
based on triple bottom line considerations. Dawn Meats recognises that as a business it has social
and environmental obligations and as a result strives to be proactive in reducing emissions,
minimising carbon footprint and ensuring that sustainable practices are enshrined in its business

The sustainability charter is reviewed at a corporate level on an annual basis to ensure Dawn
Meats is achieving the stated objectives, targets and vision for sustainability. The corporate
sustainability working group includes the Chief Executive, Operations Director, Sales Director,
Group Sustainability Manager and Group Agriculture Manager. At site level, the plan is
implemented by a multidisciplinary team, incorporating production, technical, financial and
management personnel. This allows for a top down and bottom up approach to sustainability
management, reinforcing the culture of sustainability within the company.
Charlie Coakley, Dawn Meats Group Sustainability Manager states “The cross functional team
approach at all levels of our business reflects our commitment and passion for sustainability “

Sustainability Targets

Dawn Meats sustainability charter sets out realistic and measurable goals in detail over a ten-year
period under the headings of energy, water and emissions. In early 2013, Dawn Meats doubled its
original improvement targets, due to the success of the ongoing environmental sustainability
initiatives. Dawn Meats now aims to achieve a 40% reduction in energy and water usage, and a
50% reduction in direct carbon footprint by 2020. Charlie Coakley, Dawn Meats Group
Sustainability Manager commented “The success of the Origin Charter and the sustainability
programme is testament to ongoing work by our sustainability teams across our business”
In order to manage energy consumption as responsibly as possible, Dawn Meats has implemented
environmental management systems in all of their sites. To reach these ambitious energy
consumption goals, the environmental management systems are based on ISO 14001. To-date six
Dawn Meats sites are accredited to the standard, with the remaining sites working towards
accreditation. Production associated energy consumption will be reduced by implementing a
programme of works ranging from capital investment in boiler optimisation, introduction of heat
recovery technology, refrigeration optimisation and staff training, resulting in behavioural change in
relation to energy usage at site level.

There is also a significant emphasis on the water intensive cleaning processes within the
processing plants. By introducing water saving innovations here and by optimising procedures to
save water where possible, whilst still maintaining its high standard of hygiene and quality
assurance, Dawn Meats plans to achieve its zealous goal in relation to reduced water

The implementation of the environmental management system and energy plan will lead to
realising the reduced energy targets. This in turn will aid the reduction of carbon emissions in direct
production. This decrease in emissions will be further complemented by a move towards using low
carbon fuels.

Benefits of Origin Green Membership

Charlie Coakley, states “Origin Green provides a framework for a „field to fork‟ approach to
sustainability, supporting the commercial and environmental sustainability of agriculture and food
processing, enabling Irish companies to be at the global forefront in providing leadership on
sustainability initiatives and giving Irish companies a real market differentiator.”

The Future

Dawn Meats is dedicated to continuous improvement in the efficient use of resources, resulting not
only in lower operating costs, but also in a lower impact on the environment. It will continue to
implement the measures required to achieve the ambitious sustainability goals set out in its
sustainability charter. Dawn Meats understands that sustainability is a journey and not a
destination. The group has already made solid strides in its sustainability journey, and remains
committed to doing even better than set out in its plan. By focusing on the delivery of continual
improvement, Dawn Meats ambitious targets for 2020 can be achieved. The systematic
benchmarking process will act as a tool to monitor the effectiveness of the initiatives, and indicate
where further action may be required to stay on target.

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