Thursday, May 16, 2013

Maple Leaf pats its back

 Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has released its first “sustainability report” that reads like a public relations puff piece.

It's enough to make me barf.

The company report says:
Economic Contributions
                Investing approximately $770 million to increase our scale and productivity and the global competitiveness of the Canadian food industry.
Our People
                Maple Leaf has a deep values based culture and embeds a strong emphasis on personal and professional development and values alignment at all levels of the organization.
Health and Well-being
                Maple Leaf led Canada's food industry in developing a full Naturals line of prepared meat products containing no artificial preservatives or ingredients.
                In 2012, Ninety-five percent of waste from 40 of Maple Leaf's manufacturing facilities was diverted from landfills, representing approximately 80 per cent of our total production.
A Culture of Safety
                Maple Leaf established a five member Food Safety Advisory Council, including food safety experts from Canada, the US and the UK, which keeps the Company current on emerging global issues and advancements.

"Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading food company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The Company employs approximately 19,500 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asia. The Company had sales of $4.9 billion in 2012."

The report does not, of course, say its products sickened scores of people and killed 22 who ate meat products processed at its Listeria-contaminated facilities at Bartor Road in Toronto.

About 220 products processed on two of nine lines in the plant were recalled at a cost of about $20 million.

Maple Leaf settled with people involved in class-action lawsuits for $27 million.

Ironically, it’s that big Listeria problem that prompted the company to establish the “Food Safety Advisory Council” and the company claim that it has “A Culture of Safety”.

I guess that part of "sustainability" isn't beneficial for public relations. Or the company's sales and stock price.