The Climate Conversations: How to Build a Greener Food Chain

Episode Summary

In our post-pandemic world, there is no more pressing issue than climate change. This fall, Disruptors, an RBC podcast, is exploring potential solutions to a warming planet—as well as some challenges in implementing them—in a multi-part series called The Climate Conversations. Co-hosts John Stackhouse and Trinh Theresa Do speak with a variety of innovators and market disruptors who are working to get Canada on a path to net-zero emissions. In this second installment of The Climate Conversations, we speak with two bold thinkers in the agricultural realm. First we hear from Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, on how he’s remaking Canada’s largest meat producer—now the world’s first major food company to go carbon neutral. And in the second half, we visit the Creemore, Ont., farm of Brent Preston: a pioneer in regenerative agriculture, which allows farmers (like Brent) to reduce emissions while improving soil health. According to RBC research, agriculture accounts for 2% of Canada’s total GDP and about 5% of its exports; it also generates about 10% of Canada’s greenhouse gases. By solving some of the industry’s climate challenges, a more sustainable food chain can be built for the next generation of producers and consumers.

Episode Notes

To learn more about Maple Leaf Foods and how it is positioning itself to become “the most sustainable protein company on earth,” read the highlights from its 2020 Sustainability Report here

Brent Preston’s journey into organic farming is well documented. You can watch his 2017 TED talk, “The World Needs Less Food,” or read his latest book “The New Farm: Our Ten Years on the Front Lines of the Good Food Revolution,” published by Penguin Randomhouse Canada in 2017.

Finally, RBC Economics and Thought Leadership have recently published an in-depth report on the path to net-zero called “The $2 Trillion Transition: Canada’s Road to Net Zero.” 

The report explores the costs and benefits of Canada’s shift to a carbon-neutral economy—and how it can fuel a new generation of Canadian innovation, including in the agricultural sector. To read it, visit RBC.com/netzero.

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