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

Dawn Meats is the supplier of choice to a range of leading supermarket, food service and restaurant businesses, exporting to more than 50 countries. As a family-owned business Dawn Meats remains true to its farming heritage through the close relationships it has forged with over 30,000 Irish & British farmers from whom it directly sources grass-fed cattle and lamb for processing at its 9 Irish and 15 UK plants.

Dawn Meats was established in Co. Waterford, Ireland in 1980, and has grown into a business with over €2bn in annual revenue, employing 7,000 staff in eight countries. The company works with some of the world’s leading food companies who are attracted by a commitment to sustainability and quality.

Dawn Meats has been a verified member of Origin Green since 2012 and is a sponsor of the Origin Green ambassador programme. The company participates in the Irish Government CSR Forum, are active members of Business in the Community (BITC) and collaborates with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), through its membership of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI Platform).

Dawn Meats was the first Irish Food Manufacturer to achieve BITC’s Business Working Responsibly Mark for its flagship plant in Waterford.

Leadership requires transparency and sharing best practice.  Dawn Meats has demonstrated both through the publication of it’s CSR report “Together “ in 2017.

Dawn Meats sustainability strategy is built on 5 pillars, each of which sits under one of Origin Green’s three pillars.


Senior Level Support

Leadership come from within and at Dawn Meats sustainability does not sit separately in the business but is a key part of senior managers’ roles. The Organogram illustrates the degree of buy-in and support. The CSR committee is comprised of senior managers (CEO plus Commercial, HR, Engineering, Technical and Operations Directors) who review progress and drive the CSR and Sustainability strategy.


Responsible and Sustainable Sourcing

Dawn Meats primary suppliers are farmers.  It is where over 90% of the supply chain footprint resides.  For these reasons, it is the group which receive the most attention and dedicated resources.  The company has a commitment under Origin Green to maximise farmer membership of the Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance scheme (SBLAS). Dawn Meats are supporting this sustainability goal by driving improvements in our supply chain through initiatives such as:

NEWFORD FARM: Dawn Meats established a suckler demonstration herd on a 56 ha farm in Athenry, Co. Galway in 2015.  This farm is being managed by Dawn Meats with independent technical advice by Teagasc.  The lower carcase weight and finishing age of cattle at 20—24 months allow for higher stocking density, longer periods on grass at less cost and a lower carbon footprint.  Regular updates on technical performance are published and the farm hosts open days.  At its first open day in 2016 over 2,000 farmers were present and to date over 4,000 young and established farmers have visited the farm and gained insights into sustainable beef production.

LIVER FLUKE REPORTING: Dawn Meats pioneered liver fluke reporting to farmers.  Since September 2015 this initiative has evolved into a national program sponsored by Animal Health Ireland (AHI).

BETTER FARM PROGRAMME: Dawn Meats and Teagasc originally developed what has now become the Better Farm Beef Program, a program designed to improve efficiency, profitability and environmental performance at farm level.  This program was so successful that other stakeholders (IFJ, FBD Trust and other processors) have since become supports and sponsors.

YOUNG BEEF FARMERS SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAM: In conjunction with Macra Na Feirme, Young Beef farmers will gain fantastic insights into profitability, sustainability and efficiency improvement and an understanding of the beef industry from farm to fork.  The programme involves workshops, best practice farm visits and overseas activities over an 8 month period.



Dawn Meats recognises the importance of biodiversity.  In 2012/2013 a wetland was constructed at its Carroll’s Cross site.  In 2014 and 2016 Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) carried out wetland studies and in 2017 the company set a target of carrying out a minimum of 2 biodiversity measures at each production site. Dawn Meats have also promoted biodiversity by speaking publicly on the subject and publishing articles in their Dawn Direct newsletter.


Health and Nutrition

By primarily supporting and sourcing grass-fed beef, the resulting beef profile has a healthier fatty acid and vitamin profile. For added value products Dawn Meats strive to make them healthy and nutritious. This approach is enshrined in its’ new product development policy.
Dawn Meats are actively involved with promoting the health benefits of red meat. This is increasingly important at a time when a significant degree of misinformation is proliferating through the media. In its recent CSR report the company has highlighted proven nutritional attributes of red meat as illustrated. Dawn Meats are also engaged at European level with UECBV on this important topic.


Employee Wellbeing, Support, Training and Engagement

Dawn Meats promotes sustainability awareness with employees, through induction training and awareness campaigns.
An Environmental Week campaign was first held in 2015 and repeated in 2016 and 2017. Activities included: ‘wear green to work’ day; use of social media to engage employees, customers and suppliers; cookery demonstrations and recipe ideas for leftover food, ‘energy challenge’ activates such as energy bike and eco drive.

Dawn Meats have also introduced a number of campaigns over recent years in the area of Health and Safety and Food Safety. One of the most visible demonstrations of this is the “Reverse Park Only” Policy which has been adopted by all sites. Dawn Meats has for the second year running scheduled themed weeks on Health and Safety and Food Safety. The company has worked with the Irish Heart Foundation, Irish Cancer Society and other local organisations to provide employees with practical information promoting the benefits of healthy lifestyles.


Community Support

Dawn Meats supports the local communities where they operate by sourcing locally produced livestock, transported by local haulage companies and sourcing local services. Through its business operations the company contributes €millions annually to the rural Irish economy. In 2016, the company donated approximately €200,000 and more than 2,000 volunteer hours to community and charity projects


Internal Environment

EMISSIONS, ENERGY, WATER, & WASTE: Dawn Meats has set itself ambitious 2020 targets across its Origin Green sites for emissions, energy and water intensity improvements, at 50%, 40% and 40% respectively. Dawn Meats are on track to achieve these targets.
NEAR ZERO FOSSIL FUEL: Heat exchange pumps, air source heat pumps, operational efficiencies, solar powered street lighting, an integrated constructed wetland and 100% renewable energy all add together to allow one site operate with a 95% reduction in CO2 a saving of approximately 4,200 tonnes of CO2 annually.
In November 2015 through new waste management contracts, the company set a target of zero waste to landfill by 2020, which was achieved at the end of 2016. To complement this work a network of waste champions was established across the group to assist with driving waste reduction and reduce contamination of recyclables.



Dawn Meats has won numerous sustainability awards including the Bord Bia sustainability award in the inaugural year in 2013 and again most recently in 2017. Other recent sustainability awards include Sustainable Supply Chain and Large Organisation at the Green Awards as well as a Chamber Ireland CSR award.

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