La revue Viandes et produits carnés

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

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 PROCESS ET TECHNOLOGIES

 
 

Environmental impact of different diets

The aim of this study is to give a more complete picture of the environmental impact of different eating habits in various European countries (Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Portugal, Slovenia). Using life cycle analysis, the results show that, for all five countries, the total environmental impact is the result of the amount of consumption of a specific product combined with the intensity of that impact. In particular, livestock products (meat, eggs, dairy products) have consequences for all impact categories. Conversely, the transport and marketing phases contribute very little to the total damage. In addition to agricultural practices and consumption level of food products, the impact is significantly influenced by the type of food consumed, highlighting the importance of our food choices.

How can European livestock farming act on the levers of agroecology to face climate change ?

While livestock farming contributes heavily to climate change, the latter also has direct and indirect negative impacts on livestock systems. Agroecology represents a pathway to help the European livestock sector address the challenges raised by climate change, by reducing the ecological footprint of livestock activities, increasing the self-sufficiency of farms and reducing their sensitivity to hazards. In such perspectives, it would be appropriate to develop and mobilize animal diversity within farms and territories, to take advantage of the services rendered by livestock and to improve the distribution of livestock according to the local availability of feed resources. These three points together find their full meaning as part of the re-connection of livestock activities with their physical environment and crop production. In order to accompany the agro-ecological transition, farmers’ skills should evolve, as well as the approaches of agricultural education and counseling; agricultural and territorial politics should also be adapted. Such dynamics are already in motion but will have to be pursued. In addition, economic, socio-political and institutional aspects, which have not been analyzed here, should be taken into account.

Which method for environmental assessment and labeling for the ruminant red meat sector?

Interbev, the National Interprofessional Association of Cattle and Meat, took part in the experimentation of environmental labelling of food, promulgated by the AGEC law (anti-waste law for a circular economy) and the “Climate and resilience” law. The main objective for INTERBEV was to contribute to the evolution of LCA-based (Life Cycle Analysis) environmental methodologies and Agribalyse data base for LCI (Life Cycle Inventory). Currently these have shortcomings and methodological biases very unfavorable to ruminant meat production, which has a long-life cycle. Conversely, the environmental benefits recognized by society and public policies, linked in particular to the enhancement of grasslands and the associated ecosystem services (biodiversity, carbone sequestration) are not included. This project made it possible to rebalance the existing indicators - in LCA or non-LCA - making it possible to fill these gaps and to question certain aspects of the methodology used in Agribalyse (allocation, climate change, soil occupation). Different aggregation and weighting methods were evaluated, considering consumer expectations and priority issues identified by both stakeholders (including NGO in particular) and industry players. The results show that an assessment and labelling alternative to those based on LCA alone is not only possible but essential for a complete vision of agricultural systems and an informed choice of consumers.

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