As a closely held company, McCain Foods Ltd. is under no obligation to be chatty. And it isnâ€™t. The worldâ€™s biggest seller of frozen french fries has issued only eight press releases this year. When your name is on display in grocery freezers in 160 countries, you donâ€™t need to beg for publicity.
This week, the climate crisis prompted one of Canadaâ€™s most important companies to get over its shyness.
On Sept. 23, McCainÂ announcedÂ that it had joinedÂ a coalition of food companiesÂ that is â€œdetermined to take bold action to protect and restore cultivated and natural biodiversity within their value chains.â€
Two days later, the Toronto-based companyÂ saidÂ it will be spending an undisclosed amount of money on â€œdedicated commercial farmsâ€ that will attempt an agricultural moonshot: growing potatoes at industrial scale without degrading the environment.
The McCain announcements were timed to coincide with the latest United Nations Climate Action Summit, which triggered a new wave of dire warnings of ecological doom from expert panels, and pushback from expert contrarians.
Denialism appears to have been snuffed out of mainstream debate, but there is a core in the academy that doubts the costs associated with a warmer planet justify the pain that will come from trying to cool it.