Carbon neutral steak on plates

There’s a growing appetite for climate conscious food and fibre and Australian farmers are responding. 

One of the latest advances is low or zero emission beef being released into supermarkets. 

Coles is Australia’s first major supermarket to launch its own branded carbon neutral beef product, which includes seven different beef cuts and comes in recyclable packaging made from 90 per cent recycled and plant-based sources. 

Initially only available in Victoria, it will be rolled out nationally in the next year. 

Delatite Station cattle farmers Mark and Fenella Ritchie are among the beef producers working with Coles to provide certified carbon neutral beef.  

“We are really pleased to be part of the carbon neutral beef project with Coles. We are always looking to produce the finest quality beef with a strong commitment to environmental and animal welfare values that are backed up with an evidence-based approach to our decision making,” Mark said. 

The introduction of carbon neutral beef on Australian shelves is in line with what is happening across the world, according to Rabobank’s latest Beef Quarterly report. 

Earlier this year, a New Zealand meat processing company launched a net zero beef product into the US, while a UK retailer announced a Sustainable Beef and Lamb Scheme to incentivise farmers to reach net zero by 2030.  

What is carbon neutral

To become carbon neutral, businesses and organisations must calculate the greenhouse gas emissions they generate, including through travel and fuel and electricity use. 

They reduce these emissions as much as possible through technology, such as renewable energy, or changing operations. Any remaining emissions can be “cancelled out” by purchasing carbon offsets, which are units generated from activities that prevent, reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions from being released. 

When the offsets purchased by an organisation equal the emissions produced, they are carbon neutral, and they can be certified. 

Australia’s carbon neutral certification is led by the Federal Government and is one of the most rigorous in the world. Certification is available for products, such as beef, but also organisations, services, events, buildings and precincts. 

In the case of beef, it is a paddock to plate process involving a range of innovation and management systems, such as renewable energy use, animal welfare practices, sustainable grazing, and on-farm tree and vegetation planting for carbon sequestration. 

Learn more: https://www.climateactive.org.au/  

Stacey Davidson

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