Scottish red meat sector plans to become 'greenest in world'

Scotland can become one of the most environmentally friendly meat producers in the world, the report says
Scotland can become one of the most environmentally friendly meat producers in the world, the report says

The Scottish red meat sector has unveiled plans to help mitigate climate change with a bold ambition to establish Scotland as one of the world's greenest meat producers.

Following COP26 in Glasgow, the Scottish Red Meat Resilience Group (SRMRG) has published the sector’s position paper on combatting the climate crisis.

'Our Steak in the Ground [PDF]' sets the foundations for the transformation of the industry "from producer to auctioneer, processor and transporter, to reach net zero by 2045".

SRMRG was created to bring Scotland’s red meat supply chain together to work collaboratively and speak with one voice.

It includes representatives from across the supply chain including groups such as NFU Scotland, Quality Meat Scotland and the Scottish Beef Association.

It has made five pledges to support the red meat sector to build long-term sustainability by integrating best practice, breeding, innovation and technology.

This will be followed by a formal roadmap for the industry to reach net zero targets, to be published in 2023.

Kate Rowell, chair of SRMRG said: “Scotland has the potential to be one of the most environmentally friendly red meat producers in the world but we all know there is work to be done.

"With SRMRG’s unique position looking both ways along the whole supply chain, we know that every business in the red meat sector is at a different stage on its environmental journey as well as the commercial realities we are working in.

“We are also a very diverse sector - from hill farms to auction markets and transport to technology – so it’s not a matter of changing a widget in a factory."

She added: “It’s imperative, however, that we all pull together as an industry to play our part and don’t work in silos.

"This is not only for the environment, but also for financial and social prosperity which is vital to the future of our industry and of rural communities in Scotland.”

The report commits the Scottish red meat industry to advancing a 'science-based route' to net zero, a project that will take place over the next two years.

It includes five key pledges to kickstart action in the intervening years that will support businesses across the supply chain on their journey to net zero.

The pledges include prioritising reskilling and upskilling, securing a baseline emissions measurement, enhancing brand image and supporting all of those involved in a Just Transition to secure livelihoods as the economy shifts to climate-friendly production.