Since it first began in Canada, Biotech Week has gained momentum in the United States, Australia and Europe as an opportunity to celebrate our collective global advances in the field of biotechnology. Here on Canada's east coast, biotechnologies have been implemented across our operations to help increase efficiency, reduce our environmental footprint and create a future built on principles of sustainability.
Below are just a few of the exciting biotechnology projects J.D. Irving, Limited has led in recent years.
Cavendish Farms – Helping PEI’s Bee Population:
Pollination is crucial for seed and fruit production. An estimated 90% of flowering plants in the wild and 75% of the world’s food supply depend on pollination to be successful. Pollinators, such as bees, are vital to the world’s food security and overall environmental health. The rapid decline in the bee population poses a serious threat to a wide variety of plants that are crucial to human well-being and livelihoods.
Cavendish Farms partnered with the Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association (BBEMA) in 2018 to explore opportunities to create pollinator habitats on their farmland. To ensure the optimal blend of clovers and flowering plants were used, they worked with Dr. Nancy MacLean, Associate Dean in the Department of Plant, Food and Environmental Sciences at Dalhousie University. This helped create an ideal ecosystem for native bees and supported the health of their population. Areas of farmland were established at Cavendish Farms in New Annan, PEI to test the pollinator plots.
Cavendish Farms officially launched The Bee Project in September 2018 and continues to expand pollinator habitats every year.
Irving Pulp & Paper – Ahead of Paris Climate Change Accord Targets:
The Pulp & Paper team has invested more than $140 million to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Since Canada's signing of the Paris Climate Accord in 2016, the Pulp & Paper Division has already met and exceeded the target set by Canada for 2030 by more than 20%. With a long-term strategy to reduce, reuse and recycle, the Pulp & Paper team is working towards a more sustainable tomorrow.
The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions has been fueled by moving toward renewable energy, energy reduction by using LED lighting throughout their sites and leading-edge technology that reduces their carbon footprint. This means the Pulp & Paper Division is well ahead of international targets and are on their way to meeting the 2050 goal of having an 80% reduction in emissions!
Cavendish Farms is unique as they own and operate an artificial marsh built to purify water. The processing water used at Cavendish Farms’ plants in New Annan, PEI is sourced locally through a series of on-site wells. Once the water has been used to process potatoes, it is treated at Cavendish Farms’ water treatment facility to ensure it complies with all environmental standards.
The engineered wetland provides a secondary measure to further purify the water. The water is piped into the wetland where it starts a 48-hour process of being filtered through a variety of plant species that clean the water by absorbing nutrients. Daily sampling indicates that the marsh is effective year-round.
Cavendish Farms is committed to maintaining clean water for its surroundings.
New Combined Heat & Power Unit:
The Irving Tissue plant in Toronto, Ontario completed the construction of a combined heat and power (CHP) facility in December 2020. The natural gas-fired turbine creates electricity for the plant, which converts waste heat into steam that is used to make tissue products and heat the building.
This CHP facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also efficiently utilizing 70% - 80% of the heat generated by the plant in the process.