Communicating a Global First: Using Research to Communicate a Carbon Neutral Initiative

Editor’s Note: The below case study from Research Strategy Group makes for the second entry in GreenBook’s Insights That Work: 2021 Edition series. Insights That Works presents real-life case studies that feature market research professionals countering problems faced by a diverse group of major companies. These solutions yield a series of fascinating and informative outcomes. Each case study demonstrates that, no matter how complex the circumstance, the power of insights-driven approaches.


On November 7, 2019, Maple Leaf Foods became the first major carbon-neutral food company in the world. Driven to be the most sustainable protein company on Earth, President and CEO Michael McCain believes “there is simply no more time to waste. The devastating impact of climate change on our planet must be confronted head-on by business leaders with decisive and immediate action”.

Not only did the company want to share this ground-breaking step with Canadian consumers, Maple Leaf Foods also aimed
to identify what Canadians understood about the phrase “carbon neutral”. It was crucial for the company to engage customers (and consumers in general) about why this was an important step to take and why they should support this move.

Maple Leaf Foods undertook a major communication initiative around this landmark step.

This research played a fundamental role in informing how the company interacted with Canadians, both in corporate communication and at the point of purchase (for example, to ensure messaging and on-pack claims resonated most strongly with consumers).


Research Strategy Group designed a research program that discovered how much Canadians understood about carbon neutrality, and how the topic should be communicated to best engage consumer interest.

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