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Howard Snape, Regional President at McCain GB & Ireland

Howard Snape, Regional President at McCain GB & Ireland

As part of today’s release of McCain’s 2020 Global Sustainability report Together, Towards Planet-Friendly Food, the company is pledging that it will be implementing regenerative agricultural practices across 100 per cent of its potato acreage — representing 370,000 acres worldwide — by 2030. This transition will restore and protect soil health and quality and look to natural processes to control pests, prevent plant disease and strengthen crops against severe weather events.

Max Koeune, Chief Executive Officer of McCain:
"The pandemic has put a spotlight squarely on the precarious nature of our global food system."

"But the largest challenges we face are related to climate change. It’s estimated that a quarter of man-made carbon emissions come from the production of food, and if we have to grow more food to feed more people, that will only intensify. If we don’t transform the way we grow food, the whole system is at risk of suffering irreparable damage."

"Our belief in Regenerative agriculture goes back to our roots as a farm business. As a global leader in food production, McCain has a responsibility to re-imagine the way we grow a potato in a way that is beneficial for both the planet, and the communities where we operate. We have to act today to make things better tomorrow."
Regenerative agriculture calls back to a time when farming was based more on biology than chemistry, with a focus on soil health and quality. A sustainable farming practice, Regenerative agriculture promotes biodiversity, more plant cover on fields throughout the year, minimizing soil disturbances and maximizing crop diversity as a way to increase water efficiency, protect against erosion, pump more nutrients into the earth, create greater resilience to droughts and floods, capture more carbon and increase the yield and quality per acre.
(Click picture to watch video)

McCain Foods | Farms of the Future

McCain’s annual Global Sustainability Report tracks the progress of commitments made in its initial sustainability report issued last year, and makes a series of new commitments to help it move towards its climate objectives.

Howard Snape:
"We are committed to helping and protecting British potato growers to ensure the long-term sustainability of the potato crop. The impacts of climate change are all too real and our farmers have been hit immensely hard in recent years having faced a major drought and the wettest harvest on record."

"This announcement will be critical in helping us reduce our collective carbon footprint, whilst building a resilient supply chain in which everyone can thrive."
Today’s regenerative agriculture commitment follows McCain GB&I’s pledge to support British farmers through the Farmer’s Pledge, an investment of £25 million in the British potato industry launched in August 2020. The investment is split across multi-year growing scheme incentives, grant funding and sustainable contracts, all of which will help British farmers manage the increasingly erratic weather caused by climate change as well as the impact of COVID-19.
James Pick, a 22-year-old potato farmer for McCain based in North Yorkshire

James Pick, a 22-year-old potato farmer for McCain based in North Yorkshire

James Pick:
"The benefits of regenerative farming are clear, improving soil health, increasing biodiversity, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, all play an incredibly important role in helping the farm ecosystem and improving our environment. It’s why I’m so proud to be collaborating with McCain to reach the commitment announced today."

"The commitment to regenerative farming that McCain are making is not simply something that will help me produce in the short-term, but it will protect the land I farm for the future, ensuring I can pass this farm down to future generations for years to come."
Among the commitments in this year’s update beyond its Regenerative agriculture pledge are:
  • Opening three Farms of the Future in different growing regions around the world by 2025.

  • Reducing carbon emissions from potato farming, storage and freight by 25 per cent by 2030.

  • Reducing carbon emissions from all operations by 50 per cent by 2030.

  • Moving to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030.

  • Using 100 per cent of every potato harvested.

  • Sending zero waste to landfills by 2025.

  • Removing palm oil from all McCain branded products by 2025.

  • Making 100 per cent of packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

  • Donating 200 million meals to global foodbanks and NGOs by 2025.
McCain has also tracked its progress against commitments it made in its inaugural Global Sustainability Report last year, including:
  • A six per cent reduction in absolute carbon emissions across the company’s global operations.

  • A two per cent decrease in water use in water-stressed regions.

  • A five per cent increase in use of renewable electricity.

  • Donating 53 million meals — an estimated 16,000 tonnes of food — to foodbanks and NGOs worldwide throughout 2020.
McCain will implement regenerative agricultural practices on its three Farms of the Future, the first of which is now operational in Florenceville, NB. The purpose is to demonstrate that these agricultural practices, supported by technology and innovation, can be implemented at scale and be economically viable for farmers.

McCain’s commitment to Regenerative agriculture will be the subject of a virtual panel discussion on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 between 1:30 p.m. ET and 2:30 p.m. ET

Additional information and registration for the discussion

To find out more or to register for the virtual panel discussion, go to

Learn more about McCain’s sustainability commitments as well as its journey towards regenerative agriculture in Together, Towards Planet-Friendly Food, 2020 Global Sustainability Report Summary.
(Click the image to read the sustainability report summary!)

McCain Foods 2020 Sustainability Report Summary