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Progress towards emissions reduction goal detailed in beef industry sustainability update

29 April 2024

The latest data on the beef industry’s progress towards carbon neutrality and net positive contributions to nature will be revealed at Beef Australia 2024, when the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework (ABSF) releases its eighth Annual Update.

The yearly report summarises the performance of the beef value chain, including farms, saleyards, feedlots, transport, meat processing and live export, against 54 indicators of sustainability under four themes: best animal care, economic resilience, environmental stewardship and people and the community.

Last year’s 2023 Annual Update showed clear progress towards the industry’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2030, with net CO2 emissions at their lowest recorded level, of 45.21Mt.

ABSF Sustainability Steering Group Chair, Mark Davie said the industry continued to meet and exceed its targets despite facing challenges in the past year from ongoing animal disease risks, prolonged extreme summer temperatures and volatile markets.

“This year’s Annual Update shows we have increased our contribution to Australia’s GDP by 49% over the past two years, we’re actively managing more of our land for biodiversity outcomes, and we’ve posted record low mortality rates in the live export trade,” Mr Davie said.

“Sustainability is about constant improvement in an evolving ecological, economic and social setting, and the beef industry continues to demonstrate improvement through the indicators we measure.”

The launch of the ABSF Annual Update at Beef Australia will feature an opening address by Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Murray Watt, and a panel of guest speakers from the beef supply chain discussing the benefits of initiatives such as the ABSF in meeting sustainability standards and expectations.

NAB Agribusiness Executive, Josie Zilm, will join McDonald’s Australia Senior Director – Supply Chain, Tom Mahony, Teys Australia Manager Corporate and Industry Affairs, John Langbridge, and Hewitt General Manager Environment and Sustainability, Nathan Moore, on the panel.

Ms Zilm, who is also a beef producer in Victoria’s Gippsland, said farmers were looking further along the supply chain for direction, and there were some strong profitability metrics associated with sustainability practices.

“Farmers have big aspirations and plenty of information from the ABSF to improve biodiversity, natural capital and on-farm practices, but at the same time they’re chasing productivity goals and dealing with erratic weather conditions,” Ms Zilm said.

“These sustainability activities have the potential to open up new supply chain opportunities, improve climate resilience and boost profitability on farm.”

The ABSF Annual Report and supply chain panel discussion will be held at a seminar event at Beef Australia on Tuesday, 7th May, from 7.45am-9.15am at the James Lawrence Pavilion A, Rockhampton Showgrounds.

The seminar is currently sold out, however people can register to for the waitlist via the Beef Australia website.

Interested stakeholders are also invited to visit the ABSF trade stall in the Walter Peirce Pavilion to pick up their copy of the ABSF Annual Report from Tuesday onwards.