MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO — Maple Leaf Foods’ plant in Hamilton, Ontario, was recently awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification by the Canada Green Building Council.

LEED certification is globally recognized as a way to show sustainability achievement with green buildings.

To complete the project, Maple Leaf received a C$2.6 million ($1.97 million) grant from the City of Hamilton to incorporate environmentally responsible design features. 

“We are really proud of what we have achieved at our Hamilton facility, and deeply appreciate the support we have received from the City of Hamilton,” said Randy Huffman, chief food safety and sustainability officer for Maple Leaf Foods. “It has been a journey to get here, and we look forward to leveraging our learnings as we continue to pursue our vision of being the most sustainable protein company on Earth.”

Over the last few years, the facility implemented several changes, including a national LED lighting retrofit program, equipment efficiency and optimization upgrades, ammonia heat recovery and wasted heat recovery systems.

The facility also used composting and recycling programs, control measures and closed-loop systems for water use and improvements to storage, handling and employee training to reduce food waste.

Maple Leaf stated its Hamilton plant it reduced electricity intensity by 72.9%, natural gas intensity by 47.2% and water intensity by 54.8% from the baselines set in 2014. The company also noted that solid waste intensity has decreased by 51% since 2015 and food waste intensity by 45.4% since 2016. 

Other aspects of the building that changed included enhanced refrigeration management, water use reduction and using low-emitting materials. The company also tried to maximize open space to encourage interaction with the environment. 

The Hamilton plant, which opened in 2014, makes more than 500 products, including hot dogs and deli meats. The facility spans approximately 500,000 square feet and employs more than 900 workers.

The company held a ceremony in Hamilton commemorating the project, which local government officials attended.

Maple Leaf said this was the second LEED certification for the company, with the first at its Meadowvale office located in Mississauga, Ontario.