News Feature | December 4, 2013

Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Publishes Green Guidelines

Source: Food Online
Sam Lewis

By Sam Lewis

Food and agriculture industry giants create new standards to reduce environmental impacts of producing beef

The production of beef products is seen as one of the most demanding uses of carbon in food production. However, the food and agricultural industry has published some new standards aiming to reduce the negative impact producing beef has on the environment.

The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) brings together more than 50 of the world’s top food and agriculture business, like Kellogg, Unilever, McDonald’s, and Nestle, in an effort to create sustainable agriculture practices. Last week, SAI released its New Principles for Sustainable Beef Farming. The new document offers a standardized set of guidelines for beef farmers to adapt which will help minimize their carbon footprint.

Principles for Sustainable Beef Farming cover 39 specific standards which cover sustainable farm systems, economic, and social sustainability. The principles urge farmers to commit to traceability practice down to the individual animal and its feed stocks and develop a sustainability strategy. This includes minimizing water and energy usage, soil erosion, and greenhouse gas emissions. The principles aim to accelerate the use of best practices across the beef farming industry. “To date there has been no widely agreed definition of what sustainable beef looks like,” says McDonald’s Europe’s senior direct for supply chain, Keith Kenny. “SAI has successfully brought together producers and processors from across the supply chain, along with key retailers as knowledge exchange partners, to establish a set of Principles for Sustainable Beef Farming that we can all support.”

Farming beef uses a variety of practices across the globe, some using more resources and being more wasteful than others. The new guidelines established by SAI hopes to bring beef producers closer together in best practices, with the eventual goal of having the best practices evolve over time, and being employed by cattle producers across the world.

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