The carbon footprint of grass-fed beef and lamb in New Zealand is among the lowest in the world


A new life cycle assessment study reveals significant reductions in carbon emissions

LOS ANGELES, November 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A new study by global experts confirms that New Zealand is one of the most efficient beef and lamb producers in the world. The carbon footprint of New Zealand lamb is 14.73 pounds. CO2e / lb. New Zealand meat and beef is 21.94 lbs. CO2e / pound of meat1. Eating New Zealand grass-fed beef and lamb 2-3 days a week for an entire year is like a car trip from Los Angeles to Houston2.

By comparing New Zealand’s on-farm emissions and the cradle-to-grave footprint of countries around the world (12 for beef and 9 for mutton), the researchers concluded that even if beef or New Zealand lamb is exported, the total carbon footprint is lower or very high. similar to red meat produced locally in these countries. Indeed, New Zealand is efficient at the farm level, accounting for around 90-95% of the total carbon footprint. New Zealand’s on-farm footprint was almost half the average for other countries compared to the study.

The importance of reducing carbon emissions has never been greater. The The United Nations considered achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 the most important mission in the world. The New Zealand sheep and beef sector is committed to being carbon neutral by 2050, which is an essential part of a commitment to a sustainable future. As the world’s largest exporter of lamb and one of the largest exporters of beef, sustainable agriculture is a key part of New Zealand’s national target, and the absolute GHG emissions from livestock sheep and cattle in the country have decreased by 30% since 1990.

Commissioned by Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA), the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study highlights the country’s commitment to regenerative agriculture practices, which create some of the greenest farmland in the world and sustainably, humanely raised, grass-fed beef and lamb.

“Measuring and reporting the environmental impact of products accurately is key to creating a sustainable future,” said study lead researcher Dr. Stewart Ledgard. “LCA analyzes the complete life cycle of a product, including transportation and consumption, and is an effective and important tool to help the world understand and minimize our impact on the environment.”

Led by world experts in life cycle assessment (LCA) of livestock systems, Dr Stewart Ledgard, Shelley Falconer and Dr Andre Mazzetto, the study calculates the LCA of beef and sheep at each stage of the supply chain, from cradle to grave.

Global consumers are looking for transparency in food products as more and more shoppers seek products that taste great, are raised sustainably and have minimal impact on the environment. According recent data49% of global consumers consider sustainability when buying food and believe it is no longer a “nice to have” but a “must-have”.

“We are proud of our farmers’ commitment to regenerative farming practices to reduce our carbon footprint and create a greener, healthier environment for this generation and future generations,” said Pat Maher, CEO of Atkins Ranch. “American consumers are not only looking for delicious meat products, but they also want transparency and cruelty-free, grass-fed and sustainably grown foods. This scientific study shows that consumers can feel confident choosing New Zealand grass-fed beef and lamb.”

The full study is available on line and a scientific article on the study was published in the Environmental Impact Assessment Review Log.

Understanding carbon footprint measurement

The LCA was calculated using the GWP100 standard approach to convert methane to carbon dioxide equivalent to allow valid international comparisons. As the world grapples with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality, GWP100 is the current measurement standard used by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) which reflects the relative effect of a GHG in terms of climate change considering a fixed time period, such as 100 years, against the same mass of carbon dioxide.

LCA uses a “cradle-to-grave” approach that considers all GHG emissions associated with all inputs and processes at all stages of the life cycle. It includes end-of-life waste and emissions (eg from packaging, food waste and effluent) as well as shipping and transportation.

About New Zealand Beef + Lamb

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is an industry organization that represents and supports New Zealand cattle and sheep farmers. The organization aims to raise awareness of New Zealand’s grass-fed, pasture-raised beef and lamb, with a focus on providing information and education about its benefits under the brand of origin Taste Pure Nature®. When consumers see the Taste Pure Nature® logo, they can expect the best from New Zealand grass-fed beef and lamb. For more information, visit and follow us on social media including Facebook, instagram, pinterestand Twitter at @beefandlambnz. Facebook, instagram, Printeris and Twitter at @beefandlambnz.

  1. Calculated using the GWP100 standard approach to convert methane to carbon dioxide equivalent to allow valid international comparisons.
  2. Equivalent to driving 1,500 miles.

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SOURCE Beef + Lamb New Zealand


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