Kiwis claim lamb competes with UK on carbon

A new study puports to show that transportation of lamb from New Zealand is a negligable part of the overall environmental impact.

The AgResearch study, part-funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Meat Industry Association (MIA), found that 80% of emissions came whilst the sheep were on farm, with 3% from the processing of the meat and 5% from transport. The remaining 12% was derived from consumer activity.

A typical 100g serving of New Zealand lamb exported 11,000 miles to Europe has a carbon footprint equivalent to 1.9kg of CO2, AgResearch reported.

According to the study: “Transport distance influences only a small fraction of the total footprint. Focusing solely on this small fraction is an inappropriate and potentially misleading means of assessing the overall impact of emissions from a product.”

However according to Siôn Aron Jones, industry development manager at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales: “The authors of the report have emphasised that the findings cannot be compared with other lamb producing countries around the world. HCC is working towards producing an environmental roadmap that will focus on the ways farmers in Wales can reduce their carbon footprint.

“The roadmap will highlight the important role that Welsh farmers can play in producing food while minimising the impact on global warming. It is important to remember that almost eighty per cent of land in Wales is unsuitable for anything other than livestock production and we are working towards the most environmentally friendly way of producing Welsh lamb and Welsh beef.”

The New Zealand industry has reduced its emissions by 20% over the past 20 years, although the overall flock size has also come down by nearly half during that period.

>> New Zealand lamb rolls out fresh tagline for 2010

>> New Zealand denies threat to meat from wool collapse