COLES is today expanding its carbon neutral beef range, with the product now available in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.
The carbon neutral brand, which is part Coles Finest range, is available in six cuts, including porterhouse steak, chuck roast and scotch fillet, which was recently awarded Product of the Year in the 2023 Consumer Survey of Product Innovation.
Coles first launched its Carbon Neutral project in Victoria in April.
While it has received accolades for the move, Coles’ use of Australian Carbon Credit Units it purchased from the Armoobilla project in south-west Queensland has been controversial.
Australian National University professor Andrew MacIntosh described the credits as low integrity and told media the project had likely lost woody vegetation cover.
Professor MacIntosh is a former advisor to the Federal Government and earlier in the year made a series of criticisms of current carbon farming methodologies – which were credited for sparking a government review of the framework.
The Armoobilla project holder has disputed the claims he made about the integrity of its credits.
Beef Central has contacted Coles to see if more ACCUs were purchased for the expansion of its carbon neutral range. Here is the company’s reply:
Coles is proud to be partnering with beef farmers from across Victoria and New South Wales to deliver Coles Finest Certified Carbon Neutral Beef to our customers. Offset units purchased for the program meet the rigorous requirements of the Australian Government’s Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard. Coles Finest Certified Carbon Neutral Beef is Climate Active certified. We look forward to working with more cattle farmers across Australia as we roll out Coles Finest Certified Carbon Neutral Beef nationally.”
Coles acknowledged that the Independent Review of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) currently underway. The company said it did not plan to purchase ACCUs from any of the methodologies currently under review until the inquiry is complete and the findings have been handed down.
Climate Active Certification
The beef range is certified carbon neutral from paddock to shelf in accordance with the Australian Government’s Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard.
Coles national livestock manager for beef and lamb, Stephen Rennie, said Coles was proud to partner with farmers to provide more customers with a sustainable meat product and support Coles’ Together to Zero ambitions.
“We were really encouraged by the response we received when we launched Coles Finest Certified Carbon Neutral Beef in Victoria earlier this year, and we’re very excited to be able to provide this industry-leading, sustainable option to more customers around the country,” Mr Rennie said.
“Not only has Coles delivered on the country’s first own brand carbon neutral beef range, but we’ve also produced a high-quality and great-tasting product that will meet the customer’s growing need for sustainable options.”
Managing Director of Integrity Ag and Environment Dr Stephen Wiedemann has been working with Coles for the past two years to pilot and deliver innovative ways to lower emissions throughout the entire supply chain and use emission removals to deliver carbon neutrality.
“We certify every farm and facility throughout the whole supply chain to confirm emissions, emission reductions and emission removals. These results are independently verified by a third-party verifier and approved by the Federal Government’s Climate Active program,” Dr Wiedemann said.
“In this program, we are delivering low-emission beef by maximising productivity in the supplier herds, insetting via on-farm tree planting, soil carbon sequestration and in the near future, feeding next generation supplements to directly reduce livestock emissions. This is an exciting program delivering real change through the whole industry.”
Holbrook cattle farmer Daniel Mathie has made significant changes to the operation of his family’s farm over the past several years in order to reduce emissions and supply the Coles carbon neutral beef range, including installation of solar panels, the storage of carbon in the soil through best practice soil and pasture management, a focus on herd productivity, the utilisation of industry leading cattle genetics, and the planting of more than 50,000 trees.
“We’re really excited to be collaborating with Coles on this cutting-edge project because sustainability is paramount to my family and I. We make a living off the land, but if we don’t look after it, it won’t be here for future generations,” said the 30-year-old farmer.
Coles Finest Certified Carbon Neutral Beef carries the Climate Active logo to help customers identify the certified beef on shelves. Climate Active certification is awarded to businesses and organisations that have credibly reached a state of achieving carbon neutrality for their products or services.
Meat and Livestock Australia Managing Director Jason Strong congratulated Coles on the expansions of the range and said it was an important step towards achieving the red meat industry’s target of carbon neutrality by 2030.
“Coles is leading the charge when it comes to carbon neutral beef. By working directly with farmers to help them lower emissions and offset carbon, the red meat industry is getting closer towards achieving its target of carbon neutral by 2030,” said Jason Strong.
The new beef range is packed into a recyclable tray and made from 90% recycled and plant-based sources, an Australian innovation by Coles’ packaging partner Plantic.
Coles Finest Certified Carbon Neutral Beef is available online and in store for customers in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia, and will be available nationally by April 2023.