Why is Waitoa free range chicken such a good environmental choice?

Free range is good, right? So how much better for the planet can one particular chicken brand be? A lot, as it turns out, when it’s independently certified as CarbonzeroTM


Free range chicken has become increasingly popular over recent years. It’s now a much more mainstream choice than when it was first available in New Zealand. One company has been at the forefront of free range chicken farming since the earliest days, but today it aims even higher. Waitoa began operating free range chicken farms in the Waikato 14 years ago. Very recently it became the first carbon-zero free range chicken in New Zealand Aotearoa, accredited independently by Toitū certification. So what drove one of the leading free range chicken brands in the country to go carbon zero? “With our home in the Waikato, the natural environment has always been a big part of the Waitoa brand,” says Jonathon Gray, Waitoa’s Chief Executive. “Plus our customers not only appreciate the good things in life, like wonderful free range chicken, they are also concerned about the wider environment. As are retailers and our wider community. So when we asked ourselves what more we could do, going carbon zero stood-out as a natural next step. It’s about helping people make conscious choices that are better for the planet.” Not that it was an easy feat. To qualify for Toitū carbonzero™ certification, Waitoa had to show plans for how it will reduce the emissions across the supply chain and measure the progress. Emissions from sourcing raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, packaging, and disposal are factored in, with Waitoa measuring and reporting on annual carbon-footprint reductions. The company has also partnered up with Toitū-approved local projects in Marlborough and offshore to offset unavoidable carbon emissions and achieve the goal of net-zero. “I applaud and congratulate Waitoa for becoming New Zealand’s first Toitū carbonzero™ certified free range chicken product producer,” says Becky Lloyd, Chief Executive of Toitū Envirocare. “Waitoa has shown a real commitment to measuring, managing, and mitigating its impact on the environment and we’re proud to support the company in its ongoing commitment to taking credible, science-based climate action. It’s a great way to show New Zealanders and the world that our net-zero future is achievable.”


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