A joint research project is aiming to create a roadmap for the poultry industry to become carbon neutral.
Australian Eggs and AgriFutures Australia are conducting the Carbon Neutral Project, which is expected to be completed by 2021.
It will be one of the most comprehensive carbon footprint assessments conducted in the Australian ag industry, with the research providing farmers a pathway to reduce their footprint and enable consumers to enjoy sustainably sourced products.
Managing Director of Australian Eggs Rowan McMonnies said as an industry they see both an opportunity and responsibility in lowering their carbon footprint.
“Our objective is to be there in 2030, 2040, 2050 and be contributing to the lower carbon society that I think is pretty clear, what Australian’s would like to see,” he said.
The research has only just recently commenced and is expected to finish by November 2021.
Mr McMonnies said the project will not happen without the involvement of egg producers.
“An industry can’t perform unless it’s farms perform… first you get the baseline information and pathway which is what it would take and then you’ve got to extend that out….,” he said.
“It will be a very interesting dynamic within the egg industry and other industries…”
The Australian Eggs Managing Director said one of the advantages the poultry industry has going into the project is that they already have a relatively low carbon footprint.
“We’d like to see how far we can take this, we’re exploring it and that will give us the opportunities going forward,” he said.
“We see this as a responsible approach to an important issue…. being an agricultural industry we want to be here in the long term, eggs and chicken meat have a very important part to play in feeding a growing pop and delivering nutrition.”
Lead researcher, Dr Stephen Wiedemann, said the last carbon footprint assessment of Australia’s poultry industries was conducted over a decade ago.
He believes recent improvements could see carbon neutral chicken and eggs being produced at a modest cost in the near future.
“The first step before identifying pathways to carbon neutrality is to conduct a comprehensive carbon footprint of the entire supply chain, from the planting of the grain that chickens eat to the packaging and transport of the final product,” Dr Wiedemann said.
“Once you have that all-important baseline for the entire industry, you can test the impact of steps individual farms are taking to lower their footprints and then identify ways to mitigate whatever emissions remain.”
A pilot program will be run as part of the research to develop an auditable carbon neutral product for both eggs and chicken meat under the Australian Government Climate Active program.
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