Australian beef industry halves emissions

Australia’s beef sector halved its carbon footprint from 2005 to 2016, according to the latest 2019 Australian Beef Sustainability Annual Update.

The report showed that the Australian beef industry reduced absolute emissions by 55.7 per cent, since the Paris Agreement’s baseline year of 2005, mainly by increasing landscape management.

The Red Meat Advisory Council independent chair, Don Mackay, said that the latest report shows that the local beef sector can achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The surging demand for plant-based alternatives in recent years represents a growing threat to Australia’s meat and dairy industries. Environmental impact is a key cause for concern for consumers in Australia and around the globe.

“With industry, policy and research focus Australia can be the first country in the world to have a carbon neutral red meat production system,” Mackay said.

The 2019 Annual Update indicates the beef sector’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2030. Mackay said it sends a clear message to Aussies that the industry is committed to improving the environment – while still ensuring the production of high quality and nutritious beef for consumers.

“The 2019 Update for the first time benchmarks our industry’s commitment to achieving the right balance of tree and grass cover and shows that forest and woodlands on beef producing land are increasing, and removal of primary forests has declined more than 90 per cent since 1990,” he added.

“Our customers recognise the important role our beef producers play in managing the landscape, biodiversity and our grasslands, and now our Update captures this,” said Tess Herbert, chairman of the Framework’s industry-representative Sustainability Steering Group.

She added that the beef industry can now develop targets, with the Framework as a tool to measure and report sustainable beef production which can “helps direct change and encourage more action on sustainability”.

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