Pork processor Cranswick Country Foods has become the first agri-food company in Northern Ireland (NI) to be officially recognised as carbon neutral.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots visited the firm on Thursday (June 3) to congratulate it on becoming the first NI agri-food company to achieve PAS 2060 Carbon Neutrality accreditation.

The process follows a three-year investment in a range of efficiency and carbon-cutting projects at Cranswick’s Ballymena agri-food manufacturing site. The key milestone is a critical step in the site’s journey to net-zero - a goal it aims to reach by 2040.

The net-zero journey

Speaking at a visit to Cranswick in Ballymena, Minister Poots said: “We all have a role to play in order to protect and enhance our environment in a sustainable way and it’s fantastic to see local agri-businesses such as Cranswick leading the way in making long-lasting changes which have such a positive impact.

To achieve Carbon neutrality Cranswick have delivered a range of initiatives to cut emissions including switching to 100% renewable electricity to new LED lighting; and heat recovery systems. Cranswick’s achievement is a great asset for NI as we prepare for the UK hosting of COP26 in Glasgow this November.

"I commend its commitment to a net-zero journey and look forward to celebrating the next milestone in this important pathway. With this achievement, you are assisting us in delivering our strategic Green Growth priorities.”

He added: “Many businesses are already thinking green – they are doing the right thing and reaping the benefits. We want to work with progressive organisations like Cranswick Country Foods who are committed to sustainable growth while enhancing the environment.

"I look forward to seeing other local agri-food companies following Cranswick’s example and working towards becoming carbon neutral and achieving accreditation in the time ahead.”