La revue Viandes et produits carnés

La revue française de la recherche en viandes et produits carnés  ISSN  2555-8560

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 ENVIRONNEMENT

 
 

Livestock and sustainability: challenges and opportunities

This article provides a summary of the contribution of the global livestock sector to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It is organized around four priorities: 1/ food security and nutrition, 2/ livelihoods and economic growth, 3/ public health and animal health including animal welfare and finally, 4/ natural resources management and climate. This article presents quantified examples of the impacts of the sector, both negative and positive, and suggests areas for improvement so that the livestock sector contributes to the transition towards more sustainable food systems.

Towards the environmental labelling of animal products

The French association of animal production (AFZ) organized three webinars in order to take stock of knowledge about the environmental assessment of animal products, in the perspective of the upcoming environmental labelling of food items. This article summarizes the nine presentations and the debates during these webinars. The first webinar considered the issue of the environmental assessment of livestock systems and their products, within the broader framework of sustainable human food as defined by the FAO, thus emphasizing that the solutions for improvement are diverse depending on the country, as well in terms of farming systems as in evolution of production and consumption. The second webinar was devoted to the methods and data available for the environmental assessment of livestock systems and animal products. The third webinar focused on the environmental labelling of food items with a first contribution on the approaches to identify more sustainable diets, followed by three presentations related to the labelling experiment conducted by the Ministry of Ecological Transition, in partnership with actors in the field. These different contributions underline the importance of the methodological achievements and the available data, even if some improvements still need to be made, in particular to better take into account the specificities of pasture-based and organic livestock farming systems. In addition, the labelling experiments confirmed consumers' interest in getting an explicit information about the environmental impact of their food.

Evaluation of meat co-product allocations as part of Life Cycle Analysis: a new method based on biophysical parameters

The sharing of total environmental impacts between the different products of a multi-output system is crucial in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). If possible, standards recommend subdivision then substitution methods. Allocation rules are however often necessary. With allocation, the total impact is shared between the different coproducts proportionally to a value that characterizes the coproducts. This proportionality can be based on physical values (such as mass, protein, dry matter, etc.) or again the economic value of coproducts. As they are based on various types of parameters, allocation rules can lead to significantly different environmental impact results. This creates debate between stakeholders and a consensus is often difficult to reach, this being the case in several sectors including the meat sector. To fuel the debate even more, Chen et al. (2017) proposed a new allocation method based on the energy needed for the growth, maintenance and activity of each tissue. This is called the biophysical allocation. The method has been judged scientifically viable but also particularly difficult to apply due to the amount of data necessary and the complexity of the calculation model. This paper presents a freeware developed to help to easily calculate biophysical, mass and economic allocation factors to allow a fair comparison: MeatPartTool. MeatPartTool also allows access to a large database of allocation factors that comprises beef cattle (132 individuals), calves (54 individuals) and lambs (14 individuals) at the slaughterhouse stage (Le Féon et al., 2020a).

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