Cattle producers understand the need to raise more beef using fewer resources. Global meat demand is expected to surge by 70 per cent by 2050 due to a growing world population, particularly the middle class. The global livestock industry needs to ensure that they are able to meet this demand by supplying high quality protein while optimizing the use and sustainability of limited natural resources.
Canada has committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. The Canadian beef industry continually strives to be a global leader in sustainable beef production, and looks to be a partner in dually achieving Canada’s economic and environmental targets. Due to continual improvements, innovation and commitment of Canadian beef producers, Canadian beef has one of the lowest GHG footprints per unit of production in the world at 12.0 kg CO2 equivalent per kilogram of live weight, less than half of the world average. Furthermore, substantial amounts of carbon are stored in Canadian rangelands utilized by the beef industry. While contributing $33 billion to the Canadian economy the beef industry only accounts for 3.2% of the country’s total GHG footprint.
Through responsible stewardship of Canada’s natural resources, the Canadian beef industry will continue to contribute to the growth of the green economy in Canada. The ability to do so will be contingent on successful adaption and resiliency to climate change, as farmers are often the first impacted by severe weather conditions. Recommendations for investment to enable adaptation, build resiliency and reduce the GHG footprint of beef production while enabling economic growth of the industry are summarized below. Further detail and context can be found in the CCA report, Beef Industry Strategies for Reducing Greenhouse Gases and Building the Green Economy. The recommendations are organized into the main categories of; increasing productivity, enhancing resiliency, mitigating emissions, supporting national and international climate change dialogue and scientific measuring and monitoring.
The CCA is a member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). Like the GRSB, the CCA is focused on developing the necessary tools to ensure beef production is environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable.
The CCA spearheaded the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), which facilitates a national dialogue to advance continuous improvement in the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the Canadian beef value chain. Through leadership, science, multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration continuous improvement of sustainability of the Canadian beef value chain will be achieved and recognized.
The CCA is part of the Global Agenda of Action (GAA) in Support of Sustainable Livestock Sector Development, a United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) led multi-stakeholder initiative to work towards more efficient use of natural resources by the global livestock industry.
CCA also works with the International Beef Alliance (IBA) to address common issues related to animal health, animal welfare, and carbon footprint and sustainability. The IBA includes the national organizations representing beef cattle producers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay and the United States. Together, the Cattle Council of Australia, Associação dos Criadores de Mato Grosso, Associação Nacional dos Confinadores de Brasil, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas, Asociación Rural de Paraguay, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, represent producers from countries that account for 46 per cent of global beef cattle production and 63 per cent of global beef exports.