IN THE wake of COP26, the Scottish Red Meat Resilience Group (SRMRG) has published the sector’s position paper on mitigating climate change, with an ambition to establish Scotland as one of the greenest red meat producers in the world.

The document 'Our Steak in the Ground' sets the foundations for the transformation of the industry, from producer to auctioneer, processor and transporter, to reach net zero by 2045. SRMRG, which was created to help Scotland’s red meat supply chain work collaboratively, will follow that with the 2023 publication of a formal roadmap for the industry to reach net zero.

Read more: The Scottish Red Meat Resilience Group to voice their opinions

Chair of SRMRG, as well as of Quality Meat Scotland, Kate Rowell, explained: “Scotland has the potential to be one of the most environmentally friendly red meat producers in the world but we all know there is work to be done. With SRMRG’s unique position looking both ways along the whole supply chain, we know that every business in the red meat sector is at a different stage on its environmental journey as well as the commercial realities we are working in.

“We are also a very diverse sector – from hill farms to auction markets and transport to technology – so it’s not a matter of changing a widget in a factory. It’s a longer process to make and instil change in the whole supply chain and to see the results. Our pledge is to support businesses as the science, data and political demands evolve to meet their targets efficiently and significantly.

“It’s imperative, however, that we all pull together as an industry to play our part and don’t work in silos. This is not only for the environment, but also for financial and social prosperity which is vital to the future of our industry and of rural communities in Scotland,” said Ms Rowell.

“The Scottish red meat supply chain utilises our natural assets to create nutritious, healthy food for consumers to enjoy. The steps we take now to reduce emissions will demonstrate to our consumers how serious we are about meeting the climate challenge. Every small action from every individual and every business will cumulate to have impact, which will be so much greater than the sum of our parts.”

'Our Steak in the Ground' commits the Scottish red meat industry to advancing a science-based route map to net zero, a project that will take place over the next two years. It includes five key pledges to kickstart action in the intervening years that will support businesses across the supply chain on their journey to net zero.

The pledges include prioritising reskilling and upskilling, securing a baseline emissions measurement, enhancing brand image and supporting all of those involved in a Just Transition to secure livelihoods as the economy shifts to climate-friendly production.

SRMRG includes representatives from across the supply chain including the Institute of Auctioneers & Appraisers in Scotland, Pig Industry Leadership Group, QMS, Scottish Beef Association, NFU Scotland, National Sheep Association Scotland, Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs and Scottish Craft Butchers.