Meat sector launches environment taskforce

Leading meat industry representatives, from farmers through to retailers, have come together to form an environmental taskforce to develop an environmental 'road map' for the sector.

It indicates that the British meat industry is determined to play its part in meeting the UK's carbon targets, as well as addressing the growing consumer awareness that activities commonly perceived as perfectly natural, such as grazing animals, have environmental costs and benefits.

One of the roles of the taskforce will be to identify common areas of improvement within the sectors and develop strategies that can be applied through existing activities, such as the beef and lamb Better Returns programmes.

Stuart Roberts of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said: "The meat industry, like any other responsible sector of the economy, takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. We must, as a whole supply chain, work together to ensure our production is sustainable.

"A lot of work has been carried out on measuring and mitigating the environmental impacts of meat production, and many of the quick but high-impact environmental wins are directly compatible with delivering more efficient production and saving costs."

He added: "However, we need to build on what we've done and we would like to emulate some of the excellent work undertaken to produce the Milk Roadmap, albeit on a bigger scale across a number of species.

"In part, this work will help us underline our environmental credentials but we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to commit ourselves to delivering practicable but challenging environmental achievements over the next 10-20 years."

Farming minister Jane Kennedy said: "I welcome this initiative and am delighted that the meat and livestock industry has decided to follow in the dairy industry's footsteps and use the roadmap concept. This will improve understanding of the environmental impacts of meat across the sector and how these might be reduced. I congratulate the the BMPA on co-ordinating this project and wish the new Environmental Taskforce well. I look forward to publication in due course of the Meat Roadmap."

The taskforce currently includes the National Farmers' Union, the BMPA, the British Retail Consortium, EBLEX, the National Pig Association and BPEX.

A key stakeholder event will be held in the New Year to set out in more detail how the programme of work will be delivered and implemented. The first draft is expected to be produced by the autumn of next year.

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