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Cargill aims to BeefUp Sustainability

January 15, 2020

As global demand for protein increases, farmers, ranchers and agribusiness are continuing efforts to feed a growing population, address climate change and protect the planet.

To help address this need, Cargill launched BeefUp Sustainability, an initiative committed to achieving a 30% greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity reduction across its North American beef supply chain by 2030. The opt-in initiative will reduce GHG emissions throughout Cargill’s beef supply chain from a 2017 baseline, measured on a per pound of product basis. The 30% reduction builds on the industry’s existing GHG efficiency efforts and will equate to removing 2 million cars from U.S. highways for a year. 

“This initiative builds on the strong environmental stewardship work already led by farmers and ranchers,” said Jon Nash, who leads Cargill’s North American protein business. “Cargill is creating connections across the entire North American beef supply chain. Together, we can expand current sustainable agricultural practices to make a meaningful difference.”

Today, U.S. farmers and ranchers produce 18% of the world’s beef with only 8% of the world’s cattle. In fact, according the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the North American beef supply chain is already more than 35% more efficient from a GHG perspective than the global average. BeefUp Sustainability will build on this momentum and leadership.

Over the next 10 years, Cargill will work with a range of stakeholders to help achieve its goal.

“Significantly reducing GHG requires change across the entire supply chain,” said Heather Tansey, sustainability lead for Cargill’s global animal nutrition and protein businesses. “We know the time to act is now and that agriculture is how we’ll feed people and help protect the planet. We’re investing in science-based practices and have identified focus areas that will ensure we have the greatest environmental impact.”

Focusing on impact

Cargill's BeefUp Sustainability Initiative - infographic

Through this initiative, Cargill will invest in science-based practices, building tailored programs in four key areas:

  • Grazing management – We’re exploring different practices with ranchers, such as grazing management planning and adaptive management, to understand how they impact sustainability outcomes related to carbon storage, wildlife habitats, water and other ecological and economic parameters.
  • Feed production – We’re working with farmers to help implement soil health practices in row crops, such as fertilizer optimization and cover crops that lower greenhouse gas emissions from cattle feed ingredients.
  • Innovation – We’re investing in emerging technologies and introducing new ideas to reduce emissions.
  • Food waste reduction – We’re identifying ways to partner with customers to reduce food waste and advancing efforts, such as packaging innovation and shelf-life extension.

“We’re working every day with farmers, ranchers and supply chain partners to continue to serve as stewards of the earth while achieving greater business results and efficiencies,” said Nash.


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