New five-point plan to help Scots’ red meat cut carbon footprint

The Scottish red meat industry has set out plans to deliver “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, keeping the sector in line with Scottish government commitments.

The plans are revealed in a new Steak in the ground document from the Scottish Red Meat Resilience Group (SRMRG), which covers the whole supply chain, setting out five key pledges to mitigate climate change.

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“Scotland has the potential to be one of the most environmentally friendly red meat producers in the world, but we all know there is work to be done,” said Kate Rowell, chairwoman of SRMRG, as well as of Quality Meat Scotland.

“We know that every business in the red meat sector is at a different stage on its environmental journey, as well as the commercial realities we are working in.

“We are also a very diverse sector – from hill farms to auction markets and transport to technology – so it’s not a matter of changing a widget in a factory. It’s a longer process to make and instil change in the whole supply chain and to see the results.”

The five pledges are:

  1. To drive collaboration (to ensure shared learnings and avoid duplication)
  2. To support all businesses to transition (for example, helping farmers produce more of their own feed, achieve earlier slaughter dates, or use more green fuels)
  3. To utilise innovation, technology and data (including investment in genetics, feed conversion efficiency and animal health)
  4. To prioritise reskilling and upskilling (expanding qualifications and developing future “ambassadors”)
  5. To build a new brand image (using TV adverts, social media and labelling to spread positive messages about red meat)

“It’s imperative that we all pull together as an industry to play our part and don’t work in silos,” said Ms Rowell.

“This is not only for the environment, but also for financial and social prosperity, which is vital to the future of our industry and of rural communities in Scotland.

“The steps we take now to reduce emissions will demonstrate to our consumers how serious we are about meeting the climate challenge.

“Every small action from every individual and every business will cumulate to have impact, which will be so much greater than the sum of our parts.”

Scottish Red Meat Resilience Group

SRMRG includes representatives from across the supply chain, including the Institute of Auctioneers & Appraisers in Scotland, Pig Industry Leadership Group, QMS, Scottish Beef Association, NFU Scotland, National Sheep Association Scotland, Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs and Scottish Craft Butchers