International Beef Alliance position on COP21 Climate Change Meeting

December 1, 2015 - The beef industry is actively engaged in reducing environmental footprints, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, through improvements in health programs, sustainable production and innovation.

The International Beef Alliance (IBA), previously the Five Nations Beef Alliance, represents beef producer organizations from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay and the United States. The Alliance represents approximately 48% of beef production in the world.

Sustainable beef production is a high priority for the IBA. At IBA’s recent annual conference in Mexico, each member described its efforts to improve sustainability of beef production in its country. Sustainable beef production is defined as meeting the growing global demand for beef by balancing environmental responsibility, economic opportunity and social diligence. Reducing GHG emissions is an important part of each country’s sustainability efforts.

IBA members are working to continuously reduce GHG emissions per unit of production. The predominant means to reduce GHG emissions is through improved efficiency. Improvements in efficiency in beef production is achieved by adopting innovative health and husbandry practices which allow farmers and ranchers to utilize less resources and reduce environmental impact. Examples of these innovations are:

• Improving animal breeding to ensure that cattle are optimally suited to climate conditions.
• Improving animal nutrition efficiency to maximize animals’ growth potential and minimize loss to the environment.
• Improving animal health programs to prevent and more quickly detect disease.
• Promoting improved manure management practices to recycle nutrients, reduce dependence on synthetic fertilizer and energy, and enhance profitability.
• Preserving soil health by optimizing grass production, managing grazing land for ruminants, preventing erosion, and avoiding overgrazing. Results in increased carbon assimilation and sequestration.
• Reducing deforestation.
• Utilizing best technologies in beef processing for carcass and plant optimization which optimizes resources and reduces use of water and energy.

Members of the IBA are actively engaged in a multitude of activities to reduce the environmental footprint of beef production and optimize the ecosystem services delivered from these agricultural landscapes.

Examples include multi-stakeholder beef sustainability roundtables that have been started with the mission to advance continuous improvement in sustainability of the global beef value chain through leadership, science and multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration. In addition to the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, national roundtables exist in Brazil, Canada and the U.S. Through these regional efforts, the entire value chain from birth of the animal to retail works together to improve the overall sustainability of beef, which includes the reduction of GHGs.

Cattle are necessary for nutrition security, diversity to diets, and to the viability of many rural communities who depend on the beef industry. Beef is nutrient-rich and energy-dense, and is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and key micronutrients. Healthy, balanced, diversified diets are crucial to addressing the multiple challenges of malnutrition, which include wasting, stunting, obesity, and anaemia.

Cattle also produce important by-products: renewable energy, fiber, medicines and manure to maintain soil fertility, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers.

The IBA is consistently working to further improve the sustainability of beef production. Mexico is expected to launch a national roundtable on sustainable beef in the near future. Additionally, each country works to continue to advance research and development in the area of GHGs, such as the National Livestock Methane Program in Australia and the Life Cycle Assessments conducted by the U.S., Australia and Canada. Finally, each country also has producer education programs similar to the Land and Environmental Planning Toolkit that was developed by New Zealand.

IBA members are proud to provide high-quality, nutritious and delicious beef as an essential part of a healthy, sustainable diet.

For more information contact:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand
Jan Keir-Smith
Communications Manager
Tel: +64 4 474 0848

Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
Gina Teel
Communications Manager
Tel: +403 275 8558 ext. 306

Cattle Council of Australia
Heidi Eldridge
Stakeholder Relations Officer
Tel: +61 2 6269 5600

Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas
Andrés Piedra
Dirección de Estudios Económicos y Comercio Internacional
Tel: +52 55 5254 3210

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Chase Adams
Director of Communications
Tel: +1 202 879 9117

Mato Grosso State Producers Association (ACRIMAT)
Olmir Cividini
Tel:+55 65 8459 2429

National Association of Cattle Feeders (ASSOCON)
Marcio Caparroz
Institutional Director
Tel: +55 11 98256 1666

Asociación Rural del Paraguay
Andrea Barrios
Secretaria Ejecutiva de la Comision de Carne
Tel: +59 5217 60350; +59 5217 54412