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Better Ideas

What collective practices related to systems of meat production can mitigate some of these issues?

What is your Dinner doing to the Climate?

Bijal Trivedi, New Scientist Magazine (MediaResearch)

Graphic from New Scientist Magazine, based on Weber & Matthews data
(New Scientist graphic, per Weber & Matthews.
Note error: transport is all transport)

The authors suggest that possible reductions in the beef industry's footprint include better waste management and shortening the interval between calving by one month. This latter measure could reduce the total environmental load by nearly 6%. A Swedish study in 2003 suggested that organic beef, raised on grass rather than concentrated feed, emits 40% less greenhouse gases and consumes 85 per cent less energy.

Food Miles and Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States

Weber & Matthews, Carnegie Mellon Univ, in Environmental Science & Technology (AcademiaResearch)

This presents a life-cycle assessment (LCA) Policy Analysis of "Food-Miles" compared greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transporting food, to GHG emissions generated in food production. Findings indicate that food production comprises most of the emissions (83%) when weighed against transport costs in emissions (11%), and that there is only a 4% GHG impact between producer and retail outlets. The assessment also found that food groups exhibit a wide range in GHG-intensity; on average, red meat is around 150% more GHG-intensive than chicken or fish.

Comparison – Diets for a Cool Planet

These comparisons provide insights on how to make different food choices that can impact greenhouse gas emissions, including:

  1. No red meat for one meal/week
  2. No red meat for one day/week
  3. Animal or Vegetable? - no red meat at all
  4. Less ... period
  5. More background on greenhouse gases and food production
  6. Carbon and Food Groups

Assess the Ecological/Social Footprint of a Company's Supply Chain

Jacob Park's presentation at the International Working Group's Supply Chain Working Session at SRI in the Rockies in 2008 provides a good conversation starter for agricultural companies seeking to perform an assessment of their supply chain environmental and social footprints as a step in instituting more sustainable supply chain management practices.

Poultry Sector Should Promote Its Green Credentials

Farmers Weekly logoLucy Knowles and Wendy Short, Farmers Weekly (Media—Business—Marketing)



UK poultry production is responsible for the emission of the equivalent of about 400,000 tons of CO2 annually. Improving efficiency can help producers' bottom line, and at least one UK egg packer is taking advantage of consumer interest by marketing a low-carbon egg brand, Respectful Eggs.

PAS 2050 Guidelines

BSI Standards Solutions for British Government (Government—Standards)

British government standards are the leading specification for the quantification of carbon footprints of products. Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 2050, covers "Assessing the Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Goods and Services".

Locavore's Dilemma

Paul Rauber, Sierra Magazine (Media—Sustainability Advocacy) (scroll down article link)

Food that Travels Well

James E. McWilliams, New York Times (Media—Sustainability Advocacy)

Food miles alone do not tell the full story about the environmental costs of food.

Henning Wagenbreth, NY Times, Aug 5, 2007

Henning Wagenbreth

Copyright 2007 The New York Times CompanyThe a