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How red meat is becoming part of the climate solution

By 2030 the Australian red meat and livestock industry aims to be carbon neutral.

CN30 means the Australian red meat and livestock industry will make no net release of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere by 2030, as measured by the Australian Government’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (NGHGI). The Australian red meat industry is working towards this by reducing methane emissions through innovative technologies and practices , such as improved genetics, new types of livestock feeds and grazing management.

The industry is proud to be one of the first industries on the planet to set such an ambitious target, and it’s already making progress to achieve it. The Australian Red Meat Industry’s Carbon Neutral by 2030 (CN30) Roadmap sets out how the industry will proactively address emissions and become a global leader in sustainable food production.

Can the red meat industry help address global warming?

The productivity of Australian livestock continues to improve through use of innovation technologies and practices, the industry will be able to feed even more people without contributing further to global temperature rise.

Overall, the red meat industry contributes approximately 11% of national GHG emissions – well behind sectors like energy and transport. The largest emitters are electricity generation (32.9%), stationary energy (21%) and transport (18.6%)1.


So is it environmentally sustainable to eat red meat?

Research has shown that with the adoption of CN30’s production and waste-management strategies, eating red meat in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines is sustainable.

The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework and the world’s first Sheep Sustainability Framework are just two of the industry-led initiatives that are helping red meat producers implement sustainable practices.

Sustainable practices include:

  • Choosing pastures that require less fertiliser
  • Planting native vegetation to encourage biodiversity
  • Rotating stock from paddock to paddock (rotational grazing) to allow the land and the pastures to rest
  • Capturing biogas from waste streams to generate electricity
  • Recycling water for non-potable uses such as washing cattle and trucks.

In addition, the CSIRO has recommendations for what every individual can to reduce our diet’s environmental impact:

  1. Know your serving size and stick to it
  2. Follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines
  3. Reduce food waste and only buy as many groceries as you need.

Did you know?

  • The Australian beef industry has reduced it's net greenhouse gas emission by 78.56% in the periiod from 2005 to 20211

1 Data analysed from 2021 Australian National Greenhouse Gas Inventory and 2021 Greenhouse gas footprint of the red meat industry