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Proposal for Greening of Livestock Chains Open for Review

7 March 2014, at 9:01am

GLOBAL - Environmental footprinting methods on feed, poultry and small ruminants have been released for public review, which the FAO says is a major achievement towards the greening of livestock supply chains.

Members of the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) Partnership, a multi-stakeholder initiative led by FAO, met in Rome for their Annual Meeting and have announced the release of draft footprinting guidelines on feed, poultry and small ruminants for public review.

Organizations, public bodies and citizens are invited to go through the draft guidelines and provide the LEAP secretariat with their feedback. The public consultation will last from mid-March until end of July 2014.

The LEAP Partnership has taken a major step towards the shaping of harmonized sector specific methods for measuring the environmental performance of livestock sectors.

After one year from their kick-off, the Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) on feed, poultry and small ruminants have conveyed on draft guidelines for submission to public review.

These methods are self-supporting technical documents relying on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a quantitative and science-based method to assess, monitor, improve and communicate the environmental performance of products and systems.

The LEAP technical documents are relevant to a wide range of stakeholders including:

  • Livestock producers that wish to depict their resource and emission profiles and assess the performance of their production systems accordingly
  • Supply chain partners such as processors (e.g. feed producers, slaughterhouses) seeking for a better understanding of the environmental performance of products produced and purchased or used in their production process
  • Policy-makers interested in developing sustainability accounting systems and reporting specifications for livestock supply chains.

Given the growing pressure on livestock sectors to come up with concrete actions to tackle climate change and given the increasing maturity of carbon footprinting methods (e.g. ISO/TS 14067:2013, GHG Protocol, PAS 2050), the three TAGs primarily focused on Greenhouse Gases (GHG) accounting and fossil fuel demand. The TAG on feed made additional steps, though and its method also captures issues such as acidification, eutrophication, phosphorus depletion and land use. The goal of LEAP is to eventually develop guidelines that address the broad range of environmental impacts relevant to the livestock sector.

The achievements of the LEAP Partnership is a concrete result of the commitment of stakeholders in the livestock supply chains towards more sustainable systems. This commitment will continue over the next years and LEAP has just kicked off two new areas of work, on biodiversity and large ruminants.

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