Reducing Meat Consumption is Crucial to Climate Fight

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Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:

beef farming , sustainable farming

Photo courtesy of David Sykes via Flickr

  • Reducing meat consumption is crucial to climate fight: According to a new report on the climate impact of animal farming from company Chatham House, reducing meat consumption is crucial to keep climate change within acceptable limits, even if we rapidly de-carbonize other key sectors such as energy and transportation. As Rob Bailey, the report’s lead author, explained: “Preventing catastrophic warming is dependent on tackling meat and dairy consumption, but the world is doing very little about it. A lot is being done on deforestation and transport, but there is a huge gap on the livestock sector. There is a deep reluctance to engage because of the received wisdom that it is not the place of governments or civil society to intrude into people’s lives and tell them what to eat.”
  • McDonald’s turns to Canada for sustainable beef:  Recent Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef that took place in Brazil’s São Paulo, has formally approved the “principles and criteria” that will drive sustainable beef standards around the world. The meeting brought together GRSB members from at least 18 countries including cattle ranchers, feedlot operators, packers, wholesalers, restaurants and retailers, along with academics, activists and others who have been engaged in recent years in reducing the environmental and social impacts of bringing beef to market. The Principles & Criteria document is designed to create a common platform for countries and regions to set their own standards and certification systems in the coming years, and it covers five broad area: 1. Natural resources; 2. People and the community; 3. Animal health and welfare; 4. Food; and 5. Efficiency and innovation. Under each is a series of broad criteria (“Water and land resources are managed throughout the value chain to ensure responsible and efficient use”), to which indicators and metrics will be assigned as each country or region develops its own sustainable beef standard. These new rules will also allow global companies such as McDonald’s to focus on their newly set goals of bringing sustainable beef to market.  McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast-food company, recently announced that it will source its first verified sustainable beef from Canada, therefore the Canadian beef industry will need to quickly adapt a new standard and verification system, which will enable McDonald’s to meet its 2016 goal.
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