Australia is one of the only countries in the world to have conducted a full-scale Life Cycle Analysis of the environmental impact of beef & lamb production from the farm to delivery.
The study investigated energy demand, water use, land occupation, greenhouse gas emissions and stress-weighted water use associated with producing, processing and exporting Australian red meat. We learned that the transportation of our products accounts for less than 4% of their total emissions.
The transport of red meat, even where the distances are large, is not a significant contributing factor to the overall environmental impact of the product. The primary production stage of the supply chain contributed has the largest impact for all major environmental categories, ranging from 28-52% of total energy demand and accounting for over 90% of greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and adverse land impacts.
We can therefore confirm that food miles alone are not a suitable environmental impact indicator, accounting for a very small proportion of the total. Instead, we focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water use and environmental impacts at all stages of red meat production.