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Dawn Meats Group

Membership Status:

Approved until 31 May 2022



About the company

Dawn Meats Group (“Dawn”) 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 remains true to its farming heritage through the close relationships it has forged with over 30,000 farmers from whom it directly sources grass-fed cattle and lamb for processing at its 22 plants in Ireland and the UK.

Dawn was established in Co. Waterford, Ireland in 1980, and has grown to a business with over €2bn in annual revenue, employing more than 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.

Key Sustainability Commitments


Dawn’s sustainability strategy is built across 5 pillars:

  • People and Community
  • Sustainability Sourcing
  • Animal Welfare
  • Food Safety, Health and Nutrition
  • Resource Management

These pillars are underpinned by a commitment to innovation.


Dawn 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 Ireland (BITCI) and The European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability (ERBS) which collaborates with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). Dawn was the first Irish Food Manufacturer to achieve BITC’s Business Working Responsibly Mark for all of its Irish sites in 2019.


Dawn has won numerous sustainability awards including the Bord Bia sustainability award in its inaugural year in 2013 and again in 2017. In 2019 it was awarded the Bord Bia Diversity and Inclusion award for the design and adoption of a comprehensive and ambitious D&I strategy. Dawn has also been recognised with many customer and industry awards such as Green Awards, Chambers Ireland Sustainable Impact Awards and the McDonald’s Scale for Good Awards. Other awards can be seen in the news section of their website https://www.dawnmeats.com/index.php/news.


Dawn Meats Sustainability Executive meets quarterly and is comprised of the Group CEO, the Head of CSR and Sustainability and company Directors with responsibility for Sales, HR, Engineering, Food Safety & Nutrition, Procurement and Operations, who review progress and drive the Sustainability Strategy.


Dawn promotes sustainability awareness with employees, through induction training and awareness campaigns. An Environmental Week campaign first held in 2015 is repeated annually as are Food Safety and Health and Wellbeing weeks which were first held in 2016.

Dawn have a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, who manage and implement the D&I Strategy, and an Employee Wellbeing Policy.

The company actively supports communities by sourcing locally produced livestock and services which contributes and sustain the rural Irish economy. All employees are encouraged to engage in community and charity events and all sites have a Community and Charity Champion, who manage site fundraising and volunteering activities. Dawn publishes it's contributions to community groups and charities through its membership of BITC on https://www.bitc.ie/join-the-network/business-impact-map/


Dawn are supporting farm level sustainability through a number of initiatives such as the Integrated Beef Scheme, the Newford Suckler Beef Demonstration Farm http://www.newfordsucklerbeef.ie/. In Ireland Dawn source from farms which are members of Bord Bia’s Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme and are founding members of the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability.

To manage and mitigate potential supply chain risks, Dawn have an Ethical Trade Strategy and Committee to tackle issues such as modern slavery and are members of the Food Network for Ethical Trade and AB members of SEDEX.

Dawn work with suppliers and customers to increase the recyclability of their packaging and minimise the use of plastic. The company are members of Repak and have a target for all paper-based packaging be 100% FSC certified by 2025.


Good animal welfare is embedded in Dawn’s culture and they recognise that such practices are the only acceptable approach. Animal welfare team members are selected who have the correct attitude and temperament and undergo extensive animal welfare training in accordance with legislation. At all times animal welfare is monitored which is supported with CCTV.

By supporting and sourcing grass fed beef and lamb, the resulting meat has a healthier fatty acid and vitamin profile. For added value products Dawn always strive to make them healthy and nutritious; an approach that’s enshrined in its’ new product development policy. In its recent CSR report (https://www.dawnmeats.com/responsibilities/csr-report-2019/ ) the company has highlighted proven nutritional attributes of red meat and it regularly publishes articles on nutrition and the health benefits of red meat in the Dawn Direct Newsletter.


In November 2019 Dawn had their Science-Based Targets approved by SBti becoming the first European Beef and Lamb processor to make such a commitment. The company has targeted to reduce Scope 1 & 2 absolute emissions by 30%, and Scope 3 emissions intensity by 28% per tonne of finished product, by 2030 from a 2016 baseline year.

All Irish production sites are ISO14001 certified for environmental management and ISO50001 certified for energy management.

In 2019 all electrical energy requirements in ROI were met from renewable sources.

Spotlight Target Area: Supplier Certification / Packaging
Dawn Meats has been actively involved in the Origin Green programme since its
inception in 2012. The Company sources 96% of its cattle and sheep from members
of Bord Bia’s Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme and has over 20,000
farmer suppliers in Ireland. Dawn Meats work in partnership with key stakeholders to
advance the sustainability of the livestock sector.
The Company’s packaging strategy is focused on reducing substrates and increasing
the recyclability and recycled content of its plastic packaging. Dawn Meats delivered
a solution for its retail Modified Atmosphere Packaging and Skin Packaging trays to
make them easier to recycle and to support a circular economy. The volume of nondetectable carbon black plastic trays in the supply chain reduced by 84% over the last
2 years, while the average recycled content in rigid plastic trays increased to 90%.
Corrugated and solid board paper packaging is Forest Stewardship Council certified.

Case Study 2021