Sustainability report shows increase in groundcover, decrease in emissions

Beef Central, 16/06/2022

THE Australian Beef Sustainability Framework has today released its 2022 report card, showing an increase in groundcover and pain relief and decrease in CO2 emissions.

Key findings of the report include

  • 79.6pc Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions achieved healthy groundcover thresholds in 2021
  • 58.21pc reduction in the emission of CO2e since 2005 baseline
  • 2.39 million tonnes of food waste was recovered and diverted from landfill along the beef value chain
  • Producers using pain relief for animal husbandry procedures increased to 35pc.

While the update was given to a forum in Sydney today, the Federal Government formally entered its more ambitious 2030 emissions target to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Australia is now aiming for a 43 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 to 2030.

Environmental sustainability has its own section in the ABSF and this year’s Annual Update reported there had been a 58.21pc reduction in the emission of CO2 since 2005, as industry works towards achieving its self-determined goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.

ABSF chair Mark Davie said the Australian beef industry was leader in reducing emissions.

“Through the CN30 initiative, our industry defined a problem and set about investing in research and development to address the challenge, informed by drivers of industry productivity and cost,” Mr Davie said.

“Because of this initiative we are now leading the global narrative on emissions reduction and making on-farm and in-business changes to achieve our target.

Mr Davie said a key finding from this year’s report included 2.39 million tonnes of food waste being recovered along the value chain in 2021, diverting the matter from landfill.

“This is an excellent step forward as reducing waste will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of beef produced,” he said.

The use of pain relief for invasive animal husbandry practices saw a 5pc increase to 35pc. Mr Davie said there was more to be done to reach the ultimate goal.

“While there is still work to be done, this is a positive trend for the industry to reach its goal of 100pc use of pain relief by 2030,” Mr Davie said.

“Prioritising the welfare of animals through pain relief, across the full scope of the supply chain, is not only paramount to the trust industry shares with customers and communities, it also demonstrates the sector’s commitment to the care of animals and will be a differentiator of Australian beef in global markets.”

Healthy groundcover

Grazing land is also in good shape, with the Annual Update showing 79.6pc of Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions achieved healthy groundcover thresholds in 2021 (as measured in September in the late dry season) – a key indicator of land condition.

Mr Davie said graziers and beef producers had prioritised the health of their land after years of unprecedented drought.

“Sustainable grazing practices which support livestock businesses to improve productivity through feedbase management are a high priority across all regions. Technology advancements are supporting producers to measure their feedbases more accurately and make more informed decisions for the benefit of their land,” he said.

“However, this is also a space where we would like to see more work done, as connectivity and interpretation of data are some of the barriers preventing landholders from further adoption of practices to promote groundcover and biodiversity.”

Mr Davie said the 2022 ABSF Update gave him confidence the industry was standing true to its commitment to continual improvement and an open dialogue with its customers and consumers.

“Australia has a critical role in rising to the challenge of feeding a growing global population, and the ABSF is a key tool to ensure we can deliver high-quality beef that is powerfully nutritious and sustainably produced,” he said.

Carbon industry welcomes emissions target

Meanwhile, the carbon industry has welcomed the updated target from the Federal Government.

The Carbon Market Institute CEO John Connor said it was an important step forward in guiding greater investment in domestic climate action, while also improving Australia’s climate credibility on the world stage.

“Today’s commitment is a really important first step in sign-posting a new era for investment in climate action for Australia and will be largely welcomed ahead of next year’s UNFCCC global stocktake on collective effort to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals,” said John Connor, CMI CEO.

“While we urge governments and industry to invest in ‘meeting and beating’ this 2030 target, this commitment sets a strong foundation as we look to accelerate ambition this decade, and soon turn our attention to setting an even stronger 2035 target by 2025.

“In the interim, we must also be building independent, investment grade, institutions and policies that can enable stronger voluntary as well as compliance efforts from business, all governments and the community.”





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