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Red meat industry group puts its steak in the ground on climate change

Following COP26, the Scottish Red Meat Resilience Group (SRMRG) has published the sector’s position paper on mitigating climate change with a bold ambition to establish Scotland as one of the greenest red meat producers in the world. Our Steak in the Ground sets the foundations for the transformation of the industry, from producer to auctioneer, processor and transporter, to reach net zero by 2045.

SRMRG, which was created to bring Scotland’s red meat supply chain together to work collaboratively and speak with one voice, has made five key pledges to support the sector to build long-term sustainability into businesses of every size and geographical location 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 as well as of Quality Meat Scotland, explains:

“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. It’s a longer process to make and instil change in the whole supply chain and to see the results. Our pledge is to support businesses as the science, data and political demands evolve to meet their targets efficiently and significantly.

“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.”

Our Steak in the Ground commits the Scottish red meat industry to advancing a science-based route map 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.

SRMRG includes representatives from across the supply chain including the Institute of Auctioneers & Appraisers in Scotland, Pig Industry Leadership Group, QMS, Scottish Beef Association, NFU Scotland, National Sheep Association Scotland, Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs and Scottish Craft Butchers. On behalf of the members, Ms Rowell added:

“The Scottish red meat supply chain utilises our natural assets to create nutritious, healthy food for consumers to enjoy. The steps we take now to reduce emissions will demonstrate to our consumers how serious we are about meeting the climate challenge. Every small action from every individual and every business will cumulate to have impact, which will be so much greater than the sum of our parts.”

The pre-COP26 on-farm visits and Our Steak in the Ground, will be followed up with targeted activities with stakeholders and roundtable engagement with MSPs, MPs and researchers.

Click here to view Our Steak in the Ground