New Zealand’s first certified carbon-zero free-range chicken

02-12-2021 | | |
We re bringing even more goodness to people and the planet,  says CE, Jonathan Gray. Photo: Waitoa
We re bringing even more goodness to people and the planet, says CE, Jonathan Gray. Photo: Waitoa

Waitoa Free-Range Chicken is the first carbon-zero free-range chicken, as backed by Toitu’s independent certification.

According to the company, it often surprises people to learn just how carbon-efficient chicken is as a source of protein and is in fact one of the lowest in terms of CO₂ emissions per kilogramme. “With our home in the Waikato, the natural environment has always been a big part of the Waitoa brand,” says CE, Jonathan Gray.

Toitū carbonzero-certified

Waitoa is Toitū carbonzero-certified, and according to Becky Lloyd, CE of Toitū Envirocare, the brand is “showing New Zealanders and the world that our net-zero future is achievable”.

To qualify for the Toitū carbonzero certification, the chicken company had to show plans for how it will reduce emissions across the supply chain, and measure progress. Emissions from sourcing raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, packaging, and disposal are factored in, with Waitoa measuring and reporting on annual carbon footprint reductions.

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Having started free-range poultry farming 14 years ago, being carbon-zero is not the first ‘first’ for Waitoa. In 2013, they were the first in New Zealand to gain SPCA accreditation.

Greenhouse gas emissions and packaging

Waitoa says it is committed to science-based targets on greenhouse gas emissions that align to the UN 2015 Paris Agreement, as well as water use and landfill waste reduction targets. All these measures, it says, have shown consistent improvement year-on-year and more than 90% of solid waste generated from operations is diverted from landfill.

Reducing packaging is a part of Waitoa’s sustainability goals and aims to move to 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025. It is also targeting 50% average recycled content included in its packaging. “Our strategy is about doing good for our people, community, environment and business so we can leave both the business and the environment in a good place for the next generation,” says Gray.

Natalie Kinsley Freelance journalist