6 Myths About Beef and Sustainability to Bust in 2020
Daily Hive | March 17, 2020
The topic of what we eat comes up often in this discussion with meat as a food that’s front and centre. So where does eating meat (and more specifically, beef) weigh into this debate? We asked Karli Reimer, a specialist in agriculture and conservation communications, to talk us through it all.
One of the biggest misconceptions around beef is the amount of greenhouse gases that beef farming produces. “Canadian beef cattle contribute only 2.4% to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and only 0.04% globally. That is a drop in the bucket compared to other contributors — transportation in Canada contributes 28% of total emissions, for example,” says Reimer.
What’s so important about grass? “Grasslands are an important ecosystem that provides homes for a variety of creatures, including grazers like bison. Cattle make the grass and soil healthier through grazing,” says Reimer. In this sense, she explains that cattle and the environment “work well together” and that the land that cattle uses in Canada is extremely important to wildlife, biodiversity, and species at risk.Beef Looks Beyond Offsets to Get to a Zero Carbon Footprint
Shan Goodwin, North Queensland Register | March 9, 2020
The beef industry will be looking to productivity and efficiency improvements as its pathway to carbon neutral status, rather than relying on offsets, according to managing director of red meat research organisation Meat & Livestock Australia Jason Strong.
The goal of a zero carbon footprint within the next ten years, known as CN30, could not be thought of in isolation, Mr Strong told a senate estimates hearing in Canberra last week.
"There is no question that at the same time as wanting to leave the environment in a better place we have to have businesses that are sustainable on an intergenerational basis and our industry has to be more profitable and more efficient - those things are closely tied together," he said.
Policy Pennings: Plan Includes the Words ‘Sustainable’ and Climate,’ But With a Spin
Harwood D. Schaffer and Daryll E. Ray, AgriNews | March 7, 2020
When we read that Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Scott Hutchins had announced the release of a new five-year blueprint that included “Sustainable Ag Intensification” and “Ag Climate Adaptation” as two of the five program themes, we were interested.
In the last decade we have seen a number of weather-related events that affect agriculture and are consistent with what we would expect as a consequence of global climate change. Crops like corn are being grown further north than ever before. Farmers have faced a greater number of extreme weather events than ever before. Widespread wildfires are now an annual event in some parts of the country.
4 Ways Companies Can Build Low-Carbon Supply Chains
Sundara Bhandaram, Green Biz | March 9, 2020
Reading about Sony’s 2001 "Cadmium Crisis" in Daniel Esty’s "Green to Gold" book was my first introduction to the financial gravity of environmental noncompliance.
This incident had cost the company $130 million, which all began as a result of its inadequate supply chain policies. This illustrated the importance of having sustainability integrated into supply chains — and not as an afterthought.
Understanding this context was important and had me questioning how much has really changed in the last 19 years. As such, I was thrilled to attend GreenBiz 20, where I had the opportunity to sit in on the Supply Chain Transparency Summit. Both the summit and the conference were incredibly useful in providing a broader context of current best practices as well as a place to learn about the challenges many companies are facing as they embark on greening their supply chains.
WRITE TEAM: Livestock Aren’t the Problem — They’re Part of the Solution
Martha Hoffman, The Times | March 8, 2020
Livestock have gotten a bad rap lately.
In an effort to help the environment, some have suggested replacing animal products with plant-based ones. However, as we learn more about the way soil, plants, and animals interact, the data is showing that livestock can fill a vital role in sustainable food production.
At the root of all food production is the healthy soil that means sustainable plant growth. When livestock are raised in a grass-based system, farmers can add pasture crops to the rotation. Crop rotation and biodiversity are important in long-term soil health and productivity, as described by many experts in the field, and livestock can be a key to this end.
Animals rotationally grazed on pasture (moving animals from paddock to paddock so the grass has a chance to rest and regrow before being grazed again) sequester carbon from the air and build up the soil. This improves soil fertility and structure, laying the foundation for good production and drought resistance.
Since this soil building removes carbon from the air as plants photosynthesize, properly managed livestock actually have the potential to be carbon neutral to carbon negative.
A concrete example of the big picture of livestock carbon sequestration is shown in a third-party carbon footprint evaluation of White Oak Pastures in Georgia by Quantis, one of the top environmental research and design firms in the world. The farm’s rotational grazing management stores more carbon in the soil than the farm’s cattle produce during their lifetimes, making the soil healthier and more resilient while producing nutritious food in an environmentally friendly way.