Our commitment and pillars

At Saputo, we are also committed to pursuing sustainable and responsible business practices. Our areas of focus are being reorganized into the following pillars: food safety and quality, employee health and safety, business ethics, responsible sourcing (including animal care), environment, nutrition and healthy living, as well as community involvement. Using these pillars, we align our efforts and resources on our business values and stakeholder concerns.

Saputo and the environment

Saputo is committed to pursuing environmentally responsible business practices. We comply with carbon emissions regulations and are closely monitoring the impact of evolving environmental legislation in jurisdictions where we operate. Our manufacturing facilities manage their environmental impact with support from divisional environmental teams that conduct regular audits.

At Saputo, we believe environmental sustainability is a process of continuous improvement. We keep on refining our data collection and analytical tools to provide meaningful information to our management teams. We also disclose our greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption through the Carbon Disclosure Project. Our consolidated measurement and internal reporting of key environmental performance indicators has improved, and has allowed us to increase our score every year since 2011.

We are now entering our fifth year of participation in the EnergyStar Challenge for Industry, a program of the US Environmental Protection AgencyTM (EPA), which encourages manufacturing facilities to reduce their energy intensity by at least 10% from an established baseline within five years.

As with many areas of our business, we want our employees to participate in the movement toward environmental sustainability. Our program called “Sustainability Motivated by Innovation, Life, and Environmental Stewardship (SMILES)” has given our employees a way to share best practices and support events which promote environmental stewardship. From employees using electric vehicles to special Earth Day celebrations, our team has been engaged and proud to share ideas and best practices with the potential to positively impact our environment.

Environmental Policy

Saputo Inc. is one of the top ten dairy processors in the world. Our goal is to pursue our growth as a world-class dairy processor and to continue our global progression while striving to minimize the environmental impacts of our activities and those of our subsidiaries.

We are committed to pursuing environmentally responsible business practices and we seek continuous improvement in our environmental performance. In doing so, we define, review and update our environmental objectives in order for our operations to be managed in compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations, taking into consideration sound management.

To achieve this commitment, we:

  • Dedicate human resources to ensure continued monitoring of our operations and, in collaboration with governmental authorities, to seek opportunities to prevent and minimize the environmental impact of our activities going forward;
  • Promote environmental awareness, leadership and accountability among employees in regard to environmental protection;
  • Train employees in their environmental responsibilities;
  • Conduct environmental audits to confirm that the operations are managed in compliance with this policy’s objectives and principle of sound management;
  • Adopt and apply programs and procedures which minimize the consequences of emergency events;
  • Report to the Board of Directors on the environmental status of our operations

Animal Welfare

Saputo reinforces its commitment to bringing industry leaders and dairy farmers together to improve animal care on all dairy farms. The Company will continue to use its position as one of the leading dairy processors in the world to promote animal care and appropriate dairy cattle handling practices.

We are a dairy company and milk is our primary ingredient. We care deeply about the way the milk we source is produced. High quality dairy products begin with high quality milk from healthy and well-cared for animals. We hold that appropriate animal care and handling practices, housing, nutrition and veterinary care are essential for the health and well-being of dairy cattle.

Animal Welfare Policy

Saputo reinforces its commitment to bringing industry leaders and dairy farmers together to improve animal care on all dairy farms. The Company will continue to use its position as one of the leading dairy processors in the world to promote animal care and appropriate dairy cattle handling practices.

We are a dairy company and milk is our primary ingredient. We care deeply about the way the milk we source is produced. High quality dairy products begin with high quality milk from healthy and well-cared for animals. We hold that appropriate animal care and handling practices, housing, nutrition and veterinary care are essential for the health and well-being of dairy cattle.

Saputo has zero tolerance for any act of animal cruelty. This includes, but is not limited to, willful mistreatment and neglect of animals and acts that maliciously cause pain, injury or suffering. We expect all dairy cattle workers (employers and employees) to adopt and adhere to proper animal care and handling methods at all times.

The Company has established a Protocol to address situations when presented with credible evidence to support an allegation of animal cruelty. Saputo will not reinstate milk receiving from the farm until it is satisfied that specific Reinstatement Criteria have been followed.

We expect all milk producers to comply with recognized standards for the care and handling of dairy cattle. Producer compliance with industry standards/Codes of Practice must be validated by an independent 3rd party audit in order to meet expectations of industry, customers and consumers.

Industry Standards or Codes of Practice refer to either a regulatory requirement or an industry imposed expectation that outline acceptable cattle care and handling practices. Compliance with such requirements validates that dairy farms that supply Saputo with milk are addressing key dairy cattle welfare issues.

Saputo seeks commitment from its suppliers to eliminate or modify routine Management Practices that are unnecessary or cause pain, specifically:

  • The practice of tail docking cattle must be eliminated.
  • The use of pain control when dehorning or disbudding cattle must become a minimum industry standard.

We expect our suppliers to implement appropriate Animal Care Awareness and Training programs including a mandatory animal care Code of Conduct that is reviewed annually.

  • Animal care Code of Conduct templates have been developed to assist producers in developing their own.
  • Appropriate training of all dairy cattle handlers using a recognized low-energy animal handling training program that includes care of non-ambulatory and compromised cattle is key to ensuring that dairy cattle receive the best care possible

Saputo is committed to supporting initiatives and programs that promote communication, awareness and training opportunities for dairy production welfare issues.

Saputo will support training initiatives and workshops in low-energy ('quiet') cattle handling training for producers in partnership with recognized experts in the field of cattle handling and welfare.

Saputo will support training initiatives and workshops in low-energy ('quiet') cattle handling training for producers in partnership with recognized experts in the field of cattle handling and welfare.

Our efforts will be directed at all dairy industry stakeholders including milk cooperatives and marketing boards. Immediate focus will be placed on achieving these objectives in the shortest time period possible.

Ensuring that these standards, which are based on sound scientific evidence, are met is a top priority for Saputo and we expect all of our suppliers to be industry leaders in this respect.


Protocol

Saputo has established a protocol to address situations when presented with credible evidence to support an allegation of animal cruelty:

  • Saputo will immediately suspend milk receiving from a farm at which, based on the available facts and when viewed in light of surrounding circumstances, it reasonably believes an animal was abused or neglected.
  • Saputo will continue to suspend milk receiving until the allegations have been appropriately investigated by 3rd party investigators.
  • Saputo will further suspend milk receiving if the investigation concludes that there has been willful mistreatment and/or neglect of animals.

Reinstatement Criteria

Saputo will not reinstate milk receiving from the farm until it is satisfied that the following re-integration steps have been followed:

  • Immediate action has been taken to appropriately address dairy cattle workers found to have engaged in willful mistreatment or neglect of animals.
  • An on-farm audit by an independent 3rd party auditor has been conducted to evaluate producer compliance with recognized standards/Codes of Practice for care and handling of cattle (e.g. Australian and Argentinian independent auditors, FARM program, proAction® animal care assessment program).
  • A Corrective Action Plan has been created by an independent 3rd party auditor and accepted by the producer that identifies animal care deficiencies and outlines the steps necessary to address the deficiencies. The plan would include a clear timeline to correct the deficiencies with follow up audits to re-evaluate the implementation of the corrective actions identified. This may include retraining of dairy cattle workers on proper handling of cattle using a recognized low-energy cattle handling training program (e.g. Dairy Stockmanship©, Cowsignals®, Dairy Australia ProHand).
  • Failure to implement the actions identified in the Corrective Action Plan to address animal care deficiencies may result in further suspension and/or permanent termination of milk receiving by Saputo.

Industry Standards and Codes of Practice

Producer compliance with industry standards/Codes of Practice must be validated by an independent 3rd party auditor in order to meet expectations of industry, customers and consumers.

In jurisdictions where Saputo does not have a direct milk supply contract with the producer (e.g. milk cooperatives, marketing boards), Saputo will be engaged with the appropriate authorities to update recognized standards/Codes of Practice and have them become a fundamental industry minimum standard.

Industry Standards or Codes of Practice that are recognized by Saputo in countries where we have operations are:

  • Argentina: Instituto Nacional De Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) animal care manual (under development)
  • Australia: Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle – Ministerial endorsement pending
  • Canada: National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle
  • United States of America: Milk Producers Federation – National Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program

Management Practices

Saputo requires commitment from its suppliers to eliminate or modify routine management practices that are unnecessary or cause pain, specifically:

The practice of tail docking cattle must be eliminated.

The practice of tail docking has been done based on the assumption that this procedure will decrease the risk of udder infections, contribute to cleaner cows and improve the working conditions of those handling dairy cows. Scientific evidence has not identified any differences in udder or leg hygiene, somatic cell count or prevalence of intrammamary pathogens that could be attributed to tail docking. Tail docking causes pain or discomfort, and neuroma formation, risk of post-operative infections and loss of ability to control flies are welfare concerns associated with tail docking. The American Veterinary Medical Association, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and Australian Veterinary Association all oppose the routine tail docking of cattle.

Alternative management practices to avoid cattle handler discomfort can be used such as:

  1. Tail switch trimming
  2. Building stalls and floors that contribute to cow cleanliness
  3. Cleaning stalls and floors frequently to ensure cow cleanliness

The use of pain control when dehorning or disbudding cattle must become a minimum industry standard.

Cattle without horns cause fewer injuries to other animals and humans than horned animals. The practice of dehorning cattle may be necessary to enhance handling safety, but is a painful procedure. The prevention of horn growth by genetic selection and breeding of polled stock is achievable, but polled dairy sire selection is currently very limited. Where genetic selection for polled stock is not an option, calves should be disbudded in preference to dehorning using anesthesia and post-operative analgesia. The American Veterinary Medical Association, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and Australian Veterinary Association recommend the use of pain control for disbudding and dehorning of dairy cattle.

Animal Care Awareness and Training

An animal care Code of Conduct provides everyone on a farm or company with an understanding of company policies and values. It also acts as a reminder from owner, to management, to staff, about the importance of appropriate animal care. It exists to protect the safety and welfare of workers and animals. It is a company’s and employees’ commitment to doing the right thing. It outlines what needs to happen when things go wrong. Every person who handles or comes into contact with an animal must sign a Code of Conduct that clearly indicates the following elements:

  • Employers/employees are required to support the core objectives of responsible care and handling.
  • Responsible animal care and handling among employees and service providers is strictly enforced.
  • When an incident involving possible mistreatment, illness or injury of an animal is reported to an employer, it will be taken seriously.
  • Employees are required to handle and treat animals with respect and in accordance with farm policies and rules, as well as federal/state/provincial and municipal regulations under which the farm operates.
  • Any employee who observes or receives any information that alleges an animal on the farm property or in the farm’s care is being mistreated or mishandled must report that information immediately to the employer and/or the appropriate authority.

Appropriate training of all dairy cattle handlers using a recognized low-energy animal handling training program that includes care of non-ambulatory and compromised cattle is key to ensuring that dairy cattle receive the best care possible.

Dairy cattle must always be handled with care in a calm, easy manner following a consistent routine. Low-energy handling methods reduce fear, avoid injury, make observation and treatment easier and enhance animal well-being and productivity. Animal handlers must be familiar with cattle behavior and quiet handling techniques. The use of electric cattle prods must only be used in extreme situations, such as when animal or human safety is at risk, and must never be used on the face, anus or reproductive organs of dairy cattle. Suppliers must establish procedures to address the care of non-ambulatory and compromised cattle.

Examples of recognized cattle handling programs in countries where Saputo has operations include:

  1. Australia: Dairy Australia ProHand
  2. Canada: Dairy Stockmanship©, Cowsignals®
  3. USA: Dairy Stockmanship©, Cowsignals®

Saputo expects its suppliers to implement appropriate dairy cattle handler awareness and training programs including a mandatory animal care Code of Conduct that is reviewed annually.


Resources

Saputo Animal Welfare Committee

Saputo has a global Animal Welfare Committee which is comprised of Saputo internal senior leaders from Governmental Affairs, Milk Procurement, Sales and our Director of Animal Welfare. Its members represent each country where Saputo has operations. The mandate of the Committee is to maintain the integrity of the Policy, ensuring it evolves as new scientific evidence is discovered and global best practices are developed.

As part of developing the Policy, the Saputo Animal Welfare committee consulted animal protection agencies, humane societies, governmental authorities, suppliers, customers and also worked with animal welfare experts from universities and veterinary colleges. The Committee meets on a regular basis as a group and with members of animal welfare agencies and authorities.

Dr. Warren Skippon

Appointed in 2015, Dr. Warren Skippon, formerly of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), where he managed the National Issues and Animal Welfare programs. While at the CVMA, Dr. Skippon managed the National Issues and Animal Welfare programs and led the development of the CVMA Antimicrobial Prudent Use Guidelines for food animals (2009) and companion animals (ongoing).

His experience includes 15 years as a large animal veterinarian practitioner (1989-2006) with specific interest in dairy herd health management, quality milk production, reproduction and ultrasound.

Dr. Skippon received his BSc (Agriculture) from University of Guelph (Canada) in 1985 and graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1989. He is member of the Canadian Veterinary Reserve and the Past-President of the Ontario Association of Bovine Practitioners.

Partnerships

The Policy states Saputo’s commitment to supporting initiatives and programs that promote communication, awareness and training opportunities for dairy production welfare issues.

The Company will provide additional resources to two leading North American university programs that specialize in dairy animal handling and welfare.

As such, the new Saputo Dairy Care Program will be offered at the University of Guelph through the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare and the Ontario Veterinary College. This program focuses on providing practical dairy welfare education, including workshops, to veterinary students, veterinary practitioners, and dairy producers.

Additionally, Saputo is proud to contribute to funding two important initiatives at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine:

  • the Dairyland Initiative, which provides resources, consulting services and workshops to develop animal welfare-friendly housing for dairy cattle, and making each of these important tools accessible to all dairy producers and participating professionals across the world;
  • the development of the LifeStep Program that will focus on low-stress cattle handling approaches, lameness prevention and end of life management.

To submit a proposal for an animal welfare program which corresponds to our objectives, please follow the link below and complete the form. Please note that our evaluation committee meets every quarter (January, April, July and October) to assess opportunities. As such, requests should be made well in advance of the start date of the project. Any request made less than four (4) weeks before the event or project start date will not be considered.

SUBMIT A REQUEST

Others

To view the most recent summary reports in accordance with the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 (Ontario), please click on the below links:

We are proud to announce the launch of The Saputo Promise. The Saputo Promise consists of 7 Pillars that form the backbone of our approach to social, environmental, and economic performance. For more information, please click on the links below:

The Saputo Promise 

The Saputo Promise – Pillars Summary 

The Saputo Promise – Factsheet 




Nous sommes fiers d’annoncer le lancement de la promesse Saputo. La promesse Saputo s’appuie sur sept piliers qui forment l’assise de notre approche sociale, environnementale et économique. Pour plus d'informations, veuillez cliquer sur les liens ci-dessous :

La Promesse Saputo

La Promesse Saputo – Résumé des piliers 

La Promesse Saputo – Feuillet d’information