Uruguay is the first South American country to export carbon neutral meat. This month, a shipment bound for Europe will leave the port at Montevideo.
Local certification body LSQA has certified the shipment of Uruguayan meat producer Mosaica. It will depart for Switzerland around December middle.
The consignment represents an “historic milestone,” according to Augustín Russi, business development manager at LSQA, which is also active in other major meat producing nations in the region, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Paraguay.
“The carbon footprint process is the closest thing there is to an accounting process, where instead of counting money, tons of carbon are counted,” Russi was quoted as saying by agricultural news outlet Blasina y Asociados.
Uruguay’s agriculture sector is a key pillar of the economy, with cattle outnumbering people in the country by approximately four to one and the sector contributing more than 7% of gross domestic product.
However, according to LSQA the agriculture sector is also responsible for producing an estimated 75% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, with Uruguay’s famed livestock industry one of the biggest polluters.
A large part of this pollution can be attributed to methane, which was brought up during the recent COP26 Climate Summit in the United Kingdom. Uruguay was one of 106 countries to endorse an ambitious climate change plan. Global Methane PledgeDesigned to decrease global emissions by 30 percent by 2030.
Latin America is particularly affected by this target. home to six of the world’s top 20 beef producersPromotion and production of carbon neutral meat is a key component to ensuring a sustainable industry.
How is Uruguay’s carbon neutral meat certified?
Carbon neutral meat is certified in Uruguay via a comprehensive “Cradle to Gate” study of the production process carried out by LSQA, which monitors carbon emissions related to rearing livestock from the moment they are born, through the fattening up process, and up to the animals’ arrival at the slaughterhouse.
These include standards from the International Organization for Standardization and rules on product categorization. Also, guidelines on greenhouse gases set forth by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
It also entails a “fingerprint inventory” that cattle farmers must self-produce to demonstrate their emissions, as well as efforts taken to mitigate them, all of which is verified by LSQA. Mosaica reportedly began an “arduous process” of data collection and management to monitor its carbon footprint at the beginning of 2021.
According to LSQA, the company’s status of a carbon neutral producer was partly due to its use natural pastures as well as engagement in native forests conservation.
The promise of carbon neutral beef is made possible by major beef producers
Uruguay, which has been the first country to produce carbon neutral meat in South America for decades, is now poised for major changes. Uruguay’s top six producers contribute more than 28% global beef exports.
The Southern Cone sub-region — which includes Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay — is a particular hotbed for beef production, with four of those nations among the world’s 20 top producers, while Chile sits in 25th.
These four were also founder members. the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), a 30-year-old economic association that in 2019 announced an agreement in principle for a free trade agreement with the European Union — the South American bloc’s primary trading partner, as well as being the third-largest producer of beef globally.
Now that the ball is rolling for carbon neutral meat exports and Mercosur members have signed the Global Methane Pledge and all other Mercosur members except Paraguay, it’s only a matter to time before Mercosur meat producers seek to be certified.
In the meantime, other parts of the region are addressing livestock pollution as part of larger plans to decrease emissions. Sustainable cattle ranching is one example. forming a key part of Colombia’s plansTo reach carbon neutrality before 2050
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